Customary law on women's inheritance and succession rights : a comparative study of Nigerian and South Africa
Obianenue, Chukunedum Ovie
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In a typical African country, the great majority of the people conduct their personal activities in accordance with and subject to customary law. However, the recurring conflict of African cultures and traditions with human rights continue to militate against the protection of women's inheritance and succession rights in accordance with global; regional and constitutional human rights standards. In Nigeria and South Africa, it is apparent that most women are ignorant of their indispensable human rights, especially with regard to inheritance and succession, as well as the protection of such rights. As a result, most Nigerian and South African women continually face problems resulting from limitations under customary laws with regard to inheritance and succession. This study focused on discrimination of women under customary law in Nigeria and South Africa with reference to inheritance and succession. The study validated the findings of other researchers on the impact of customary law practices on women's rights to inheritance and succession. In addition, the findings revealed that efforts to eliminate customary law practices should come first from men and communities that hold such discriminatory attitudes towards women. The dissertation emphasised on Nigeria and South Africa as excellent models of the wider challenges for women as well as governments; despite firm constitutional and ratification of human rights treaties put in place by the latter, the battle continues unabated for the balance of customary laws with women's rights issues. Although South Africa is more progressive with regard to intestate succession than Nigeria in terms of constitutional guarantees and human rights praxis, a lot still needs to be done in both countries particularly in the area of harmonising the divergent systems of laws with regard to inheritance and succession rights. The study concludes that with regard to women's inheritance and succession rights, African customary law is generally known to be discriminatory against women. However, this study offers suggestions that aim at building a culture of respect for women's' rights across the African continent.
- Law