WRAPA Condemns Discriminatory Law Against Women and the Girl-child, Commends the Judiciary for Proper Discharge of Duties

WRAPA speaks against discriminatory Law

In many Nigerian cultures, the rights of women and the girl-child are trampled upon, most especially on the issue of inheritance, where a female child is prohibited from inheriting her father’s property on the basis of her gender. This discriminatory law and dehumanizing tradition which regards women as inferior to men, is practiced all over Nigeria but most predominantly in the eastern part of the country.

However, and interestingly to the advancement of women’s rights, the Supreme Court, the highest Court in Nigeria, has voided the Igbo customary law which forbids a female from inheriting her father’s estate, on the grounds that it is discriminatory and conflicts with the provision of the section 42(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that;

(1)“A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person;

(a)Be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject

(2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstance of his birth.

This was as a result of the judgement given in a family dispute between Gladys Ada Ukeje, who was disinherited from the estate of her deceased father, Lazarus Ogbonna Ukeje. She sued her step-mother Lois Chituru Ukeje and her son, Enyinnaya Lazarus Ukeje 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 father’s estate. The trial court found that she was a daughter of the deceased and was qualified to benefit from the estate of the father.

However, Mrs. Lois Chituru Ukeje and her son, Enyinnaya Lazarus Ukeje not satisfied with the verdict, went to the Court of Appeal, Lagos but the decision of the trial Court was upheld, prompting them to the Supreme Court who also upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, stating that the Appeal Court was right to have voided the native law that disinherit female children.

Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who read the lead judgement, held that “no matter the circumstance of the birth of a female child, such a child is entitled to an inheritance from her late father’s estate. Consequently, the Igbo customary law, which disentitles a female child from partaking in the sharing of her deceased father’s estates, is a breach of section 42(1) (2) of the constitution, a fundamental Human Rights Provision guaranteed to every Nigerian.

The Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), utterly condemns the obnoxious customary law (discriminatory law) which segregates a girl child from her rights to inheritance on the basis of her gender. WRAPA also commends the dauntlessness of Gladys in seeking legal redress and the Judiciary for rising and defending the human rights provision as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Many thanks to the Justices Walter Samuel Onnoghen, Claral Bata Ogunbiyi, Kumai Bayang Aka’ahs and John Inyang Okoro who were part of the panel that upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, and voided the discriminatory law.

WRAPA urges the Civil society, media and human rights advocacy groups, to continue in enlightenment of the masses on discriminatory practices that dehumanize women and the girl-child, such as; disinheritance, female genital mutilation and widowhood practices.

The importance of Rule of law cannot be overemphasized, law enforcement agencies must also be diligent in the discharge of their duties to ensure that perpetrators of these gender-based discriminatory practices are held accountable and brought to justice.



Credit: transitexpressnews.com.ng

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD : The Power of the Adolescent Girl – Vision for 2030

International Day of the Girl Child

A Statistical Snapshot of Violence against adolescent girls states that “Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence and this represents the most extreme and irrevocable continuum of the array of violence faced by girls on a daily basis, usually at the hands of those closest to them. This violence can be emotional, physical and sexual”.

This year’s theme coincides with the plight of our girls abducted by the insurgents in the North east, their pains, deprivations and diminished human dignity.

Being an adolescent could be challenging and difficult as it is a period where one is seen as both a child and an adult at the same time. An adolescent is a young person between the ages of 13 years – 19 years. It is a growth period from Childhood to adulthood, where there are a lot of both physical and psychological changes.

According to WHO, ’Adolescence is a period of life with specific health and development needs and rights. It is also a time to develop knowledge and skills, learn to manage emotions and relationships, and acquire attributes and abilities that will be important for enjoying the adolescent years and assuming adult roles’’.

Violence comes irrespective of age, the adolescent suffers from all forms of violence directly and indirectly. This has increased the use of drugs, alcohol and activities, mostly negative to suppress the pain and vacuum.

A child born today 11th October, 2017 will be an adolescent come 2030. There is need to create a responsive environment suitable for the adolescent now, and the adolescent in 2030. Empowering a girl child goes beyond the will and boldness to demand justice, but also life skills, improve critical thinking, and build self esteem. The girl child should be protected irrespective of her religion, social class, race and level of IQ.

Over the years, we have read of young women who are conquering the world as adolescents, but one that made the world to stand still was Malala Yousafzai. She said ‘’I raise up my voice, not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard’’. It will take a girl child with strong resolve and determination to do what she is and has been doing. We must groom and raise young ambassadors who despite all odds will stand for the truth and seek justice.

With a legal framework like the Child Rights Act, that seeks to protect the girls from violence and promote their rights, it is imperative that structures be instutionalized to enforce it.

With the likes of Malala Yousafzai and determination, the girl child will conquer anything.


from: Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi (MFR)