Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has signed a law allowing women to inherit family property.
Onyebuchi Ememanka, the spokesperson for the governor, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
The law titled, The Female Persons Right of Inheritance of Property Law 2022, was passed by the Abia House of Assembly on 16 November.
It was sponsored by the Speaker of the assembly, Chinedu Orji.
Mr Ememanka said the development was in “conformity with international best practices” and also intended to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women” in the state.
While signing the law, Governor Ikpeazu stressed that his administration would at all times “lean on the side of reason and common sense in the discharge of its obligations” to the people of Abia State.
Mr Ememanka said the governor believes it has become “anachronistic” to continue to treat women as second-class citizens even in their own families.
“The governor thanked the State Assembly led by the Speaker for dredging up enough courage to pass this Bill which he described as historic, positively disruptive and capable of setting our society on the path of equal opportunities and sustainable development,” Mr Ememanka said.
Women’s rights to inherit their father’s properties have been a subject of intense debate in several parts of Nigeria.
The Supreme Court, in 2020, abolished the tradition of prohibiting women from inheriting their father’s properties.
Ruling on a case between Gladys Ukeje, daughter of late Lazarus Ukeje, and wife of Late Mr Ukeje, the court held that such tradition was a clear violation of Section 42(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Although the practice of disinheriting female children has continued in some Nigerian communities despite the court ruling, some states have begun the process of outlawing the practice.
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for instance, signed a similar bill into law, in September, which guarantees women’s rights to inherit their fathers’ property in the state.
“Because you’re a girl, you’re a woman, you’re not entitled to inherit what belongs to your father. It is not you who decides having a girl or a boy. It is God,” Mr Wike, a lawyer, was quoted as saying by the ICIR.
“We have even found out that women are more useful to us than even the men. The day you’re getting old and dying, you will know that you need more daughters than men. They (daughters) will leave their husbands’ houses and come to take care of you,” the Rivers governor added.
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