A High Court in Nigeria has ruled against a man who attempted to prevent his nieces from inheriting their late father’s properties. The court ordered the man to pay a penalty of 20.1 million Naira to his nieces for his offense. The ruling emphasized that female children have equal rights to inherit property and called for community leaders to recognize this fact. The court described the man’s actions as “opprobrium, offensive, and unconstitutional.” This decision sets a precedent for female inheritance in Nigeria and beyond. The case involved additional respondents, including a police officer and the state commissioner of police.
Female inheritance, which was not traditionally accepted in some parts of Africa, has now become widely accepted in many parts of the world.
In Nigeria, a High Court in Uyo, the capital of Akwa-Ibom State, ruled against Mr. Sampson Silas Udoh who took legal action against his two nieces for trying to inherit their late father’s properties.
In the final ruling, the High Court ordered Mr. Sampson Udoh, a resident of Itiam Etoi in Uyo Local Government Area, to pay a penalty of ₦20,100,000 to his nieces for his offense.
The court held that Mr. Udoh attempted to violate the fundamental rights of his nieces, who are the children of his elder brother, and therefore he must pay ₦10,050,000 to each of the two girls.
The court also emphasized that female children have the same right as male children to inherit their parents’ properties, and urged the leaders of Akwa Ibom State to recognize this fact.
The presiding judge, Justice Ntong Ntong, described Mr. Udoh’s actions as unjust and unconstitutional, stating that “the maltreatment is offensive and goes against natural justice, equity, and good conscience.”
The court concluded that the first and second respondents acquired their father’s property at Isaac Silas Udo Obot’s compound in Nung Udoetok Ibom Adia Abasi of Itiam Etoi, Uyo, as evidenced by exhibits presented in their counter affidavit.
“The applicant cannot exploit the vulnerability of his nieces simply because they were born as girls and women into their family,” the court stated.
Based on the credible evidence presented, the court ruled that the police and other respondents did not encroach upon the applicant’s rights, but it was the applicant who infringed upon the fundamental rights of his nieces.
The court rejected the applicant’s request for the enforcement of his fundamental rights and dismissed the case with a total cost of ₦20,100,000 payable to the nieces.
This ruling by the Akwa Ibom State High Court sets a precedent for recognizing female inheritance of family properties as a legitimate practice.
Mrs. Bakabasi James, Miss Ndantiabasi Silas, and Mr. Williams Ubetem, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) attached to the State Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, and the State Commissioner of Police all served as respondents in the case filed on August 16, 2022.