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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Validity of the Benin custom of male primogeniture for succession to property
Author:Omoregie, Edoba B.ISNI
Periodical:East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (ISSN 1021-8858)
Geographic term:Nigeria
customary law
law of inheritance
gender inequality
Abstract:More than three decades after gender was included as a protected category in the non-discrimination clause of the Nigerian constitution, the country's Supreme Court recently decided two cases in which it declared the custom of male primogeniture applicable among the Igbo people of Southeastern Nigeria invalid for being in contravention of the clause and for being repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. The decisions, which were delivered only in April 2014, are truly significant in a number of ways. In the first case Ukeje v. Ukeje, the apex court for the first time made a firm pronouncement on the constitutionality of the male primogeniture custom having regard to the non-discrimination clause. In the second case Anekwe v. Nweke, the court declared the male primogeniture custom void not on the grounds of constitutionality, which it did not consider, but for failing the test of repugnancy thus further opening a new vista for determining the validity of a number of customs which retain vestiges of gender discrimination. Taking a cue from the decisions this article examines the validity of the male primogeniture custom of succession among the Benin people of Midwestern Nigeria and argues that the custom can no longer survive the test of constitutional validity and the stricture of repugnancy in view of the principles established in the two cases. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]