Inheritance laws and Women’s property rights: How Just?
The writer argues that it has mainly only been through inheritance legislation, not land legislation, that state law has delivered any positive redress as to the relative rights of men and women in land. Even in these cases, this has often been achieved only by court interpretations or administrative directive. The upshot is that in many countries in Africa today, should a woman argue her case forcefully in informal or formal courts, a wife could prevent the sale of land critical to household sustenance and widows may secure the right to continue residing and farming household lands. These are, however, merely ad hoc successes which do not necessarily bespeak any real alteration in statutory domestic land relations. The article highlight several important cases from Nigeria which has upheld women’s right to property.