Women’s Right to Inheritance in Africa: The Nigerian Experience

Authors Abdulrazaq Adelodun Daibu, Sekinat Arikewuyo Daibu, Juliet Aimienrovbiye

ISSN: 2521-2613
Affiliations: Lecturer, Department of Private and Property Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin; Legal Practitioner, Daibu, Oseni and Co, Ilorin; Lecturer, Department of Private and Property Law, Faculty of Law, University of Benin
Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2018, p. 28 – 56


There is no doubt that discriminatory cultural and traditional practices against women in Africa constitute social injustice and often infringe their right to inheritance. Sadly, widows and female children, almost always, contend with extreme hardship, making them helpless in inheritance cases. This article analyses the problems of intestate inheritance under customary law in some selected jurisdictions in Africa. It also examines intestate inheritance under Islamic law which is not only part of the Nigerian legal system but also the culture of most Muslim faithful in the northern and south-western parts of Nigeria. The article found that despite the plethora of laws protecting women’s rights against all forms of discrimination in most African countries, the continued subjection of women to oppressive and anachronistic cultural practices in inheritance cases still persists. This article contends that ratification of international instruments and enactment of domestic laws without necessary implementation and proactive judicial pronouncement will not bring about the desired social justice. This article finally recommends legal strategies and policies that will enhance the protection of women’s rights to inheritance in Nigeria and indeed Africa.