Monday, April 22, 2024

Females can inherit property – Akwa Ibom court

The ancient tradition in Etinan council area of Akwa Ibom state which denied female children the right to inherit their father’s properties has been nullified in a landmark ruling.

A High Court presided by Justice Pius Idiong quashed the practice yesterday while delivering judgment in a suit filed by eight children of the late Obong Patrick Joseph Noah of Edem Ekpat.

They filed the suit against their aunt Mrs Gertrude Ekanem to stop her from inheriting the landed property of her sister, the late Immaculata Noah, who died and left behind the property without a husband or a child.

The case with the suit number HET/3A/2019 between Mr Michael Patrick Noah and seven others and Mrs Gertrude Ekanem, originated from the Etinan District Court, whose judgment the appellants appealed to the Chief Magistrate Court and the High Court.

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In their evidence, the appellants contended that their aunt cannot inherit her sister’s property located at number 24 Iman Street, Etinan, because she is a woman and had also been married out of the family.

In his judgment, Justice Pius Idiong described such practice as anachronistic, primitive and unconscionable, which should not exist in the 21st Century society.

The Court held that any custom that denies a woman an inheritance on the ground of her gender, is not only unfair but runs contrary to the fundamental objective of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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