What are the rights of women on cultural, traditional, inheritance, burial issues among others?

Discrimination against women is unlawful in Nigeria.

Section 15 and 16 of Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination (CEDAW)[1] specifically condemn those relating to the legal capacity of women, parental rights, reproductive rights in relation to spacing and number of children, property, marriage, choosing a family name, profession, education and so on.

Some practices in relation to women still exist especially with respect to traditional and cultural practices relating to inheritance, burial rights, political empowerment, child marriage, marital and parental rights, and so on in some part of Nigeria.

On discriminatory practices in relation to inheritance and burial rights, it will interest you that this area has witnessed increased litigation (court actions) because of awareness with respect to human rights. In the case of Onwo v. Oko[2] where a member of the Assemblies of God alleged discrimination on ways she was treated in compliance with mourning the dead in her community against her belief, the Court of Appeal ordered retrial and reversed the trial court decision in favour of the woman.

Also in the case of Augustine Nwafor Mojekwu v. Caroline Mgbafor Mojekwu[3], It was explained that under Olu Ekpe custom of Anambra state, only male children can inherit their fathers’ property. Also where a man is survived by a male child who dies leaving no male child, the father’s brother still inherits his property. If this brother dies, his own male child would inherit all the property. The Court of Appeal condemned such practice as repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

While we respect customs and religious customs, it is however important that they must not be repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

[1] UN, Treaty series, vol. 660, p. 195

[2] (1996) 6 NWLR (Pt. 456) 584

[3] (1997) 7 NWLR (Pt. 512) 288