Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)


A Pragmatic Approach to Raising the Bar on Womens Rights in Nigeria

Author(s): Jacob Otu Enyia, Sunday Usang Out

The expeditious growth of human rights in Nigeria coupled with the fact that nation is a signatory to a virtually all the international instruments, conventions and treaties on human rights has heightened the expectation of Nigerian women to the enjoyment of human rights and their protection from barbarous, anachronistic and archaic customary practices that unfortunately and regrettably abuses their rights to succession, inhibits their political and economic ascendancy and discriminates against them contrary to the tenets of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. It is no longer news therefore that Nigeria has gained notoriety as a country where the inalienable rights of women are constantly abuse through domestic and gender based violence, deprivation from inheritance, subjugation, child marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual abuse, limited political representation and religious segregation amidst a host of others. This paper therefore examines these violations that have become entrenched to a ridiculous level due to our belief in the patriarchal system in which women in Nigerian have been placed in a precarious position in modern society. By employing the doctrinal method, issues were addressed via case by case review and comparative analysis between the protection of African women in South Africa and Nigeria and how the constitutional models in the two countries have given recognition and enforcement of two regional and international instruments on human rights in terms of raising the bar and protecting women’s rights from harmful practices that has enthroned imbalance in the power relationship between men and women. In the end, the papers recommends amongst others, the practice of bilinear or double-descent system of inheritance and intestacy succession, joint ownership of properties between husband and wife, execution of testamentary instruments and judicial activism as pragmatic approaches to raising the bar on women’s rights in Nigeria.

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