Court Nullifies Akwa Ibom Inheritance Tradition


An Akwa Ibom State High Court  sitting in Ikot Ekpene Judicial Division, has nullified  the practices among Annang people where female children are denied their deceased parents ‘ inheritance.

The Court presided over by justice Ntong, said the practice was against  good conscience  and unconstitutional in the present day realities, declaring it null and void and of no effect.

On the other hand the judge also declared that for the son to inherit the main building of his father and his personal  effects to the exclusion of female children in Annang  tradition was not repugnant  to natural justice  and good conscience.

The declaration is contained  a judgement  delivered Wednesday  in a 2016 suit filed by one MRS Joyce Obot (Formerly known as Joyce Akpan )against her stepbrother,Idorenyin Akpan, as the respondent.

It was gathered that late Udo Akpan who hailed from Ikpe Ikot Akpan, Ikpe Annang in Ikot  Ekpene Local Government Area died without a valid will so some year ago.

He was said to have married  two wives who gave birth to six children.

The complaint, Mrs Joyce Obot, is the eldest and only  child  from the first wife while her brother -the respondent, is the only male child among his mother’s five children, and bye only male child  of late Udo Akpan.

It was also gathered that shortly after his demise the eldest daughter and her stepsister Useneno Akpan from the second wife had applied for and obtained a letter of administration.

As administrator of their late father’s estate, if was learnt the Obot had caused the Adiasim /Ikpe Annang District Court  to partition the asset left behind

The main building was said to have been given to the only son( respondent ) while  the boy’s quarter went to the eldest daughter (plaintiff ) in the final judgment of the District in suit No. 64/98

It was gathered that  the subsisting decision of the customary Court was neither challenged nor set aside by any higher court before  an attempt  by respondent to deprive his elder sister  of inheritance on ground  that as a woman, she was not entitle to the boy’s quarter due to the long held tradition that she had been married out

Court noted  that the wrong belief  about women and girls children did not exist  only among  the Annang people, but also prevalent among the Oro, Ibibio, the Efik and even among other ethnic nationalities including the Igbo of the South -East.

Justice Ntong held that the tradition had from time immemorial been a thing of worry.
Culled from Punch Newspaper


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