The Supreme Courtroom has upheld the correct of a feminine baby to inherit her father’s properties and this choice has divided Igbos as some are in help whereas some oppose it.
Igbo legal guidelines and customs forestall feminine kids from inheriting their father’s property, particularly land of their father’s ancestral dwelling.
The choice by the supreme court docket voids this age-long Igbo customized on the grounds that it’s discriminatory and conflicts with the availability of the structure.
The Supreme Courtroom held that the follow conflicted with part 42(1)(a) and (2) of the 1999 Structure.
The land mark judgment was on the enchantment marked: SC.224/2004 filed by Mrs. Lois Chituru Ukeje (spouse of the late Lazarus Ogbonna Ukeje) and their son, Enyinnaya Lazarus Ukeje towards Ms. Gladys Ada Ukeje (the deceased’s daughter).
Gladys had sued the deceased’s spouse and son earlier than the Lagos Excessive Courtroom, claiming to be one of many deceased’s kids and sought to be included amongst these to manage their deceased father’s property.
The trial court docket discovered that she was a daughter to the deceased and that she was certified to learn from the property of their father who died intestate in Lagos in 1981.
The Courtroom of Enchantment, Lagos to which Mrs. Lois Ukeje and Enyinnaya Ukeje appealed, upheld the choice of the trial court docket, prompting them to enchantment to the Supreme Courtroom.
In its judgment, the Supreme Courtroom held that the Courtroom of Enchantment, Lagos was proper to have voided the Igbo native legislation and customized that disinherit feminine kids.
Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who learn the lead judgment, held that: “Irrespective of the circumstances of the delivery of a feminine baby, such a baby is entitled to an inheritance from her late father’s property.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour mentioned: “Consequently, the Igbo customary legislation, which disentitles a feminine baby from partaking within the sharing of her deceased father’s property is breach of Part 42(1) and (2) of the Structure, a basic rights provision assured to each Nigerian.
“The said discriminatory customary law is void as it conflicts with Section 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution. In the light of all that I have been saying, the appeal is dismissed. In the spirit of reconciliation, parties are to bear their own costs.”
Justices Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, Kumai Bayang Aka’ahs and John Inyang Okoro, who had been a part of the panel that heard the enchantment, agreed with the lead judgment.
The choice has evoked combined reactions from Igbos.
In his response, the Bishop, Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Owen Nwokolo described the judgment as a welcome growth.
Based on Vanguard, he mentioned that feminine kids should not second class residents and shouldn’t be handled like one.
He mentioned: “Feminine kids have and must be accorded the identical rights given to their male counterparts and due to this fact shouldn’t be discriminated towards.
“This isn’t the primary time the Supreme Courtroom has given this judgment. Some years in the past, the Supreme Courtroom gave related judgment however we’re blissful and we thank the Supreme Courtroom for upholding the identical judgment and there’s no going again in females inheriting their fathers’ property.
“Families should put the judgment in practice and female children should stand up and claim their right. It is not only Supreme Court judgment but God given right and they should take that right.”
Prof. Uzodinma Nwala-led Alaigbo Growth Basis, ADF, additionally welcomed the choice, saying, “In at present’s world, daughters have proved their mettle in bringing sustainability, honour and dignity to their households. A few of them have performed the position of bread-winners for his or her father’s homes.
“So, it would have amounted to great injustice to continue to deny them the right of inheritance. They should be entitled to a fair share of their family wealth whether married or single.”
Nevertheless, a outstanding monarch in Nsukka and the grand patron of Enugu State Conventional Rulers Council, and the normal ruler of Aji autonomous neighborhood in Igbo-Eze North Native Authorities Space of Enugu State, Igwe Simeon Osisi Itodo, mentioned the Supreme Courtroom ruling can’t abolish the custom and customized of the Igbos.
Itodo mentioned that any try and implement such legislation in Igboland would provoke chaos and skirmishes amongst varied communities.
He argued that the customized is exclusive to the folks of South-East Nigeria and shouldn’t be touched.
“There are traditions which had existed earlier than the legislation. Earlier than the emergence of legislation courts, Igbos have their custom and customized which can’t be worn out due to Supreme Courtroom ruling.
“There are such a lot of issues now we have in widespread which can’t be stopped due to court docket verdict.
“We aren’t towards that ruling however we’d not abolish our customs and traditions which all of us met. You possibly can think about a married girl coming again to her father to share his property with the sons.
“We might not enable it as a result of it will breed chaos and troubles in our communities. If there are customs that enable such inheritance, let the folks proceed the follow nevertheless it gained’t work in Igboland.
“In India, women pay the dowry but the reverse is the case here. We would not abolish our unique customs because of court ruling,” the monarch mentioned.
The President- Basic of Ndigbo United Discussion board, NUF, Chief Godson Ezenagu, counseled the choice of the Supreme Courtroom, saying that granting females entry to their fathers’ property is pure, including that it will give them a way of belonging within the society.
“Based on Igbo custom, the feminine baby inheritance doesn’t occur and now that the Supreme Courtroom has dominated that they’re entitled to that, by pure justice and conscience, I agree with them fully.
“Granting them entry to their organic father’s properties is a pure factor. Typically, customs handed over from technology to technology may be awkward and may be discontinued.
“For denying them that, they’re put in severe jeopardy; they’re molested at dwelling and likewise of their marital dwelling. Their partaking in sharing of property will make them extra comfy than the state of affairs through which they discovered themselves. That’s what is meant to occur naturally.
“All animals are equal and on the identical time, all kids are equal. We shouldn’t due to customized deny the feminine baby her pure proper.
“So, it is a welcome development and I am sure all people of good faith will support it and advocate that even the ones that have not been done or already done could be revisited.”
Chief Augustine Emelobe, a famend Chemical Engineer, mentioned the Supreme Courtroom’s ruling has eliminated the unjust and unfair remedy on the feminine kids.
He informed Vanguard: “I help the decision of the Supreme Courtroom. Kids are kids regardless of whether or not they’re male or feminine. I’ve at all times had the notion that it’s unjust and unfair on the a part of the feminine kids.
“I applaud the Supreme Court as the last hope of the common man in this age-long man’s inhumanity to man.”
For the President-Basic of the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, Goodluck Egwu Ibem, the Supreme Courtroom choice is a welcome growth.
Based on him, it’s a great defence of the girl-child who prior to now, has been handled as a second class citizen in our society.
He mentioned: “She is seen because the property of her husband who loses all types of rights as soon as she will get married. A person who has solely feminine kids in our society loses his rights to sure privileges like being a conventional ruler or his inheritance in his personal father’s compound. The state of affairs prior to now has been very ugly.
“We deeply appreciate the Supreme Court for this landmark judgment that has brought back the confidence of the girl-child in our society today.”