Laws and practices relating to women’s inheritance rights in Nigeria: an overview

The Nigerian legal system can best be described as a hot-potch of Nigerian legislation, English law, customary law (including Islamic law) and judicial precedents; a system of federal and state courts, legislative power at the federal, state and local government levels,  The complex interaction of this multi tiered legal structure which functions simultaneously in conjunction with very significant informal social controls based on gender, ethnicity and religion affects the status of women particularly in marriage.  Invariably, a women’s right to property depends on the type of marriage she has contracted. There are two types that are recognized under the law; statutory marriage and customary marriages, which include marriages under Islamic law. Therefore any discourse on women’s inheritance rights in Nigeria must be done in the light of the diversity of the legal system.
Ezeilo, Joy
Source publication: 
WomenAid Collective (WACOL), Enugu (Nigeria)