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Court upholds female inheritance rights in Akwa Ibom

  By Lovina Anthony   The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has upheld the rights of females to inherit their father’s property....


By Lovina Anthony


The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has upheld the rights of females to inherit their father’s property.


The court also awarded N20 million in favour of the nieces of one Mr Sampson Silas Udoh, who denied the daughters of his late brother rights to their father’s property.


In his judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Ntong Ntong, ordered Udoh, an indigene of Itiam Etoi in Uyo Local Government Area, to pay his two nieces N20 million for breaching their fundamental rights and stopping them from inheriting their late father’s property.


The suit, which was filed on August 16, 2022, had Mrs Bakabasi Victor James and Miss Ndantiabasi Isaac Silas as respondents, while Mr Williams Ubetem served as the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) attached to the State Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, and the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command.


Justice Ntong described the action of the applicant as “obnoxious and repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good conscience”, adding that “the maltreatment is opprobrium, offensive, and unconstitutional.”


“The main contention of the applicant is that his nieces, being female children of his late elder brother, Mr Isaac Silas Udoh, should not inherit their father’s property because they are women.


“The respondents said their father built his own house on his own land between 1976 and 1980, which they lived in from birth till date without any problem until they attempted to appropriate the inheritance and their uncle unleashed mayhem on them.”


The judge explained that it was high time that paramount rulers, clan heads, village heads, and community leaders in Akwa Ibom State come to terms with the fact that “female children have an equal stake with their male counterparts to inherit their parents’ properties.


“The applicant cannot be allowed to take advantage of the vulnerability of his nieces just because they were born girls and women into their family.


“From the totality of credible evidence before the Court, the Police and other respondents did not and are not likely to encroach on or infringe upon the rights of the applicant. Instead, it was the applicant that infringed upon the fundamental rights of his nieces with impunity, which cannot be allowed to stand.


“The application for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental rights has failed woefully in its entirety and is dismissed with a cost of a total sum of twenty million, one hundred thousand naira payable to the 1st and 2nd respondents at ten million, fifty thousand naira each,” the court ruled.


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