" ITREALMS: Umu-Ada have right to inherit father properties in Igboland – Supreme Court

Monday, July 17, 2017

Umu-Ada have right to inherit father properties in Igboland – Supreme Court

Following the latest Supreme Court ruling, the Igbo custom which ‘forbids’ daughters or female child from inheriting their father’s properties have been nullified, reports ITRealms.

This, ITRealms gathered steams from the grounds that it is discriminatory and conflicts with the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to the Supreme Court landmark judgement, the court held that the practice conflicted with section 42(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

The judgment, ITRealms gathered, was on the appeal marked: SC.224/2004 filed by Mrs. Lois Chituru Ukeje (wife of the late Lazarus Ogbonna Ukeje) and son, Enyinnaya Lazarus Ukeje against Mrs. Gladys Ada Ukeje (the deceased’s daughter).

Gladys had sued the deceased’s wife and son before the Lagos High Court, claiming to be one of the deceased’s children and sought to be included among those to administer their deceased’s father’s estate.

The trial court found that he was a daughter to the deceased and that she was qualified to benefit from the estate of their father who died intestate in Lagos in1981.

The Court of Appeal, Lagos to which Mrs. Lois Ukeje and Enyinnaya Ukeje appealed, upheld the decision of the trail court, prompting them to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In its judgment last Friday, July 14, 2017, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal, Lagos was right to have voided the Igbo’s native law and custom that disinherit female children.

Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who read the lead judgment, held that “no matter the circumstances of the birth of a female child, such a child is entitled to an inheritance from her later father’s estate.

“Consequently, the Igbo customary law, which disentitles a female child from partaking in the sharing of her deceased father’s estate is breach of Section 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution, a fundamental rights provision guaranteed to every Nigerian.

As said by the Judge, “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 to bear their own costs.”

Equally, Justices Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, Claral Bata Ogunbiyi, Kumai Bayang Aka’ahs and  John Inyang Okoro, who were part of the panel that heard the appeal, were reportedly in agrement with the lead judgment.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Pix: CJN Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen

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