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Right means that which a person has a total and valid claim to. The rights of women in Nigeria has been a very serious issue in almost every sphere of life. There are lots of customary law practices in Nigeria which promote gender discriminations. The provision of most if not all of these customary law practices are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, These customary laws are in one way or the other contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) especially with regard to the fundamental human right of every citizen in Nigeria whether male or female and some additional sections. This work aims at examining the causes of most of the discriminations against women with regard to customary laws of Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Ijaw and Igala/idoma respectively. By virtue of section 1(3) of the Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the constitution is supreme and any law that is contrary to the provision of the constitution is null and void, therefore, all the customary law practices that causes gender inequalities are contrary to the provisions of the constitution viz-a-viz Right to life, Right to dignity of human life, Right to personal liberty, Right to freedom from discrimination e.t.c and this work pointed out the different ways such discriminations appeared. The methodologies employed in this work are doctrinal, which means teaching or exposing the lawon a particular choice of interest. The work is also comparative and analytical in scope which means that the researcher delved into other jurisdictions and compared them with the 1999 CFRN (as amended) other methods of data collection includes statutes, case laws, textbooks, journals and internet sources. The researcher found out that the rights of women have been infringed in several ways, thus, there is need for modification and reformation of customary laws, enlightenment of masses, reorientation of men and women, review of obnoxious laws, to mention but a few.
Title Page i
Table of Contents vii
Table of Cases ix
Table of Statutes xi
List of Abbreviations xii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study 1
1.2 Statement of Problems 1
1.3 Purpose of the Study 2
1.4 Scope of Study 2
1.5 Significance of Study 3
1.6 Methodology 3
1.7 Literature Review 3
1.8 Organisational Layout 5
1.9 Definition of Terms 5
CHAPTER TWO: RIGHT OF WOMEN UNDER DIFFERENT CUSTOMARY
LAWS IN NIGERIA
2.1 Igbo Customary Law 10
2.2 Yoruba Customary Law 14
2.3 Islamic Customary Law 15
2.4 Bini Customary Law 19
2.5 The Ijaw customary Law 20
2.6 The Igala/Idoma Customary law 20
CHAPTER THREE: RIGHT OF WOMEN UNDER THE 1999 CONSTITUTION FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
3.1 The Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 21
3.1.1 Right to Life 21
3.1.2 Right to Dignity of Human Person 22
3.1.3 Right to Personal Liberty 23
3.1.4 Right to Fair Hearing 24
3.1.5 Right to Freedom from Discrimination 25
3.1.6 Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion 27
3.1.7 Right to Freedom of Expression and the Press 28
3.1.8 Right to Acquire and Own Immovable Property 28
CHAPTER FOUR: CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF
WOMEN IN NIGERIA
4.1 Incidences of Abuse 34
4.1.1 Domestic/Physical Violence 34
4.1.2 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 35
4.1.3 Sexual Assaults 42
4.1.4 Forced Marriage 43
4.1.5 Human trafficking and forced prostitution 44
4.1.6 War, Rape and Sexual Slavery 44
4.1.7 Mistreatment of Widows 45
CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Conclusion 56
5.2 Recommendations 57
TABLE OF CASES
Akinnubi v Akinnubi  4 NWLR (pt486)144 14
Alixjean Carmichele v Minister of Safety and Security & Anor  2 CHR 179 22,27
Bello v Attorney General of Oyo State  5 NWLR 820 22
Bolaji v Akapo  NMLR 203 32,50
Chinweze v Masi 1 NWLR (pt97)254, 270 12
Dunn v Dunn  2 All ER 49
Ejiamike v Ejiamike (1972) 2 ENLR p11 10
Ejinima v The state  6 NWLR (pt 200)635 23
Gokpa v The police  1 All NLR 423 24
Isenalunhe v Amadin  1 CHR 458 24
Ihiama v Akogu unreported case of Okpo Area court, Grade 11 suit No MD/26A/78 20
Jatau v Mailafiya  2 NWLR (pt533) p682 16
Julie nezianya & Anor v Anthony Okagbue & ors  1 All NLR 82 &35211,12,32,50
Kauesa v Minister of Home Affairs & ors  3CHR 234 28
Loye v Loye 11NLR p134 12
Mohammadu v Mohammed  NWLR (pt 708) p104 16
Mojekwu v Ejikeme  5 NWLR (pt657) at 402 52
Mojekwu v Mojekwu  5 NWLR 283 53
Mojekwu v Mojekwu  2 NWLR (pt657) at 413 26
Nzekwu v Nzekwu  2 NWLR (pt104)317 11
Obekpa v C.O.P  5 NCLR 420 14,23
Ojisua v Aiyebelehin  11 NWLR (pt723)44 at 52 9
Onwucheke v Onwucheke  5 NWLR (pt 197) at 738 52
Osilaja v Osilaja  10SC 126 51
Owoniyi v Omotosho  All NLR 304 9
Oyewunmi and Anor v Owoade  3 NWLR(pt 13)pp182-207 9
Razak Osayiande Isenalumhe v Joyce Amadin & 3 ors  2CHR at 186 23
Salami v Salami  WRNLR 51
Sidi v Sha’aban  4 NWLR (pt121)pp208 17
Suberu v Sunmonu (1957) 2 FSC pp31-33 15, 31, 49
Sule v Ajisegiri  13 NLR 146 51
Sungunrio-Davies v Sungunrio-Davies  8 NLR 79 32, 49, 50
Uboma v Ibeneme (1967) ENLR pp 251 13, 32, 50
Uke v Iro  11 NWLR (pt723) at 196 51
Ukeje v Ukeje  LPELR-22724 CSC 54
Yakubu v Governor of Kogi State & 4 ors  8 NWLR (pt414)386 25
Zaidan v Mohssen  USC 1 9
TABLE OF STATUTES
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1990
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended 2011
Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women 1979
Evidence Act 2011 No. 18
Malpractices Against Widows and Widowers Law 2015
Marriage Act Cap 18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990
Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Right on the Right of Women in Africa 2003
Violence Against Persons(Prohibition) Act 2015
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
All ER — All England Reports
All NLR — All Nigerian Law Report
CAP — Chapter
CEDAW — Convention on the Elimination of All Form of Discrimination Against Women
CFRN — Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria
CHR — Human Rights Cases
EA — Evidence Act
ENLR — Eastern Nigerian Law Reports
FGM — Female Genital Mutilation
FSC — Federal Supreme Court Reports
J — Judge or Justice
J C A — Justice or Judge of the Court of Appeal
J S C — Judge of the Supreme Court
NCLR — Nigerian Constitutional Law Reports
NLR — Nigerian Law Reports
NMLR — Nigerian Monthly Law Reports
NWLR — Nigerian Weekly Law Reports
SC — Supreme Court Cases
VVF — Vesico Vaginal Fistula
WHO — World Health Organisation
WNLR — Weekly Nigerian Law Reports
WRNLR — Western Region of Nigerian Law Reports
WWW — World Wide Web
1.1 Background of the Study
Right is that quality in a person by which he can do certain actions or possess certain things which belong to him/her by virtue of some title. This study however will be based on the right of women in Nigeria both under the customary law and in the constitution of Nigeria.
Discrimination against women is anything that brings about unequal treatment between men and women while carrying out their livelihood. Nigeria is made up of diverse ethnic groups that occupy 36 different states, therefore, cultural and gender norms differ. The researcher choose this topic because she is of the opinion that such discrimination against women in Nigeria is unjustifiable, however, that has been the order of the day till date.
1.2 Statement of Problems
The illegal treatment and abuse against women with regard to their right in the society is one of the problems discussed in this research. Again, prejudice and oppression against women has been the order of the day in Nigeria society and most women do not even know their rights not to talk of when it is being infringed upon. This project tries to educate all women especially Nigerian women on their rights in the society and how it can be protected.
1.3Purpose of the Study
This research focuses on gender justice. It seeks to redress gender inequality, a situation where women’s fundamental rights are infringed upon without justifiable reasons, such situations includes;
(2)Female Genital Mutilation
(5)Human Trafficking and Forced Prostitution
(6)War, Rape and Sexual slavery
(7)Mistreatment of Widows
1.4 Scope of Study
This study illustrates the simple meaning of right. It analyzes to some reasonable extent the customary laws of the Igbo’s, Yoruba’s, Hausa’s (Islam’s), Ijaw and Igala/Idoma with regard to the right of women. These customary laws will be compared to the provisions of the Nigerian legal system like the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the Malpractice Against Widows and Widowers law 2005 and the 1979 Convention on The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW). The provisions like the fundamental human right is applicable to everyone equally whether male or female.
1.5 Significance of Study
This work will expose to a great extent the various ways the rights of women has been infringed upon in Nigeria. The researcher will create a clearer picture of what the rights of women are with regard to the provision of the statutes. It is therefore hoped that after this work there will be a clearer and better understanding of the rights of women in Nigeria. This work will also expose the discriminatory practices against women and its effect on the country as a whole.
The methodologies employed in this work are doctrinal, which means teaching or exposing the law on a particular choice of interest. The work is also comparative and analytical in scope which means that the researcher delved into other jurisdictions and compared them with the 1999 CFRN (as amended) other methods of data collection includes statutes, case laws, textbooks, journals and internet sources.
1.7 Literature Review;
In this work, so many books, journals and even online sources was consulted.In a book called “The Law and Ethics of Healthcare” it was stated that a woman cannot pluck or pick fallen pod of kolanut in Igbo Customary law. Also it was stated that under Benin Kingdom, if there is a will, the maker of that will cannot give the house where he lived and died to any person other than his eldest son.
The Journal on “Discriminatory Cultural Practices and Women’s Rights among the Igbo’s of South-Eastern Nigeria: A Critic’’ was also so informative because it criticized all the discriminations against women in Igbo customary laws and gave lots of recommendations on how such discriminations will be abolished. From time immemorial the rights and duties of women in Nigeria is subject to the wishes and aspirations of their men counter parts.Nigerian culture perceives and treats men as superior to women and this is seen in the “son preference syndrome” which is prevalent in Nigeria.
The book “Fundamentals of Nigerian Legal System “ was consulted on the different customary practices in Nigeria and this text is very beneficial .The researcher also examined the provisions of different statutory provisions like ” Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), The Malpractice Against widows and widowers Law 2005, The 1999 Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child 1990 and The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Right of Women in Africa 2003.
A very great reasoning was gotten from the textbook “Guides to Fundamental Rights litigation” which talked extensively about the degrading treatments against women.
Another educating textbook which the researcher examined is “Gender Dynamics of inheritance Rights in Nigeria:Need for women empowerment’’ In this textbook, the customary law practices of different parts of Nigeria was critically analyzed.
1.8 organizational Layout
This work consist of five(5) chapters.Chapter one of this work contains the preliminary issues like the background of the study, statement of problem, purpose of study, scope of study, significance of study, methodology, literature review, organizational layout and definition of terms. Chapter two(2) deals with the right of women in different customary laws like in Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ijaw and Igala/Idoma customary laws. Chapter three (3) of this work deals with the rights of women under the 1999 ConstitutionFederal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN). Chapter four (4) has to do with critical appraisal of the legal rights of women in Nigeria, lastly Chapter five (5) has to do with conclusion and proffer of recommendations with regard to the rights of women in the society as a whole.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Conflict: This is a clash or disagreement between two opposing groups or individuals.
Conflict of law: A different between the laws of different states or countries in a case in which a transaction or occurrence central to the case has a connection to two or more jurisdictions.
Custom: It is then general rules and practices that has become the norm through unvarying habits and common use.Also custom was defined as a rule which in a particular district has from long usage obtained the force of law.
Customary law: Customary law was defined as a law relating to the Custom and tradition of the people.It is also the organic or living law of the indigenous people of Nigeria, regulating their lives and transactions. It is a law consisting of customs that are accepted as legal requirementsor obligatory rules of conduct, practices and believes that are so vital and instructed as part of a social and economic system that they are treated as if they were laws.In Oyewunmi and Anor v Owoade,Customary law was defined as the organic or living law of the indigenous people of Nigeria regulating their lives and transactions.
Niki Tobi JSc defined Customary law as the customs, rules and traditions which govern the relationship of members of a community.
Furthermore, in Ojisua v Aiyebelehin, customary law was defined as a law relating to the Custom and tradition of people.For the purpose of this research, it is the difference between customary laws and the constitution
Domestic Violence:According to World Health Organization,it is any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
Degrading treatments: This includes the elements of lowering the societal status, character, value, or position of a person.
Female Genital Mutilation: It is commonly known as female circumcision. It involves the cutting off of part or whole of a girl’s clitoris and some other parts of her sex organs for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.
Feminism:The believe and aim that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men
Gender: Includes the biological sex of an individual usually male or female.It is the mental analogue of sex, also called gender identity. As construed in this book is the condition of being male or female.
Gender Discrimination:It is a distinction or exclusion or restriction made on d basis of sex, which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by men and women of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. By virtue of Article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Gender discrimination was defined as any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of the marital status on a basis of equality of man and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, and cultural, civil or any other field.
Inheritance: It includes money or property which a person is entitled to after the death of another person mostly a father or mother.
Inhuman treatment: It includes treatments which is devoid of feelings for the sufferings of others.
Justice: It ordinarily depicts fairness and what is right.
Law:It is a custom or practice recognized as binding by a community ,especially as a result of having been so decreed by the governing authorities.It is also a whole system of rules that everyone in a country or society must obey
Patriarchy: A society, system or country that is ruled or controlled by men
Right: The word ‘right’ is an English word derived from the Latin word ‘rectus’ which means ‘that to which a person has a total and valid claim, whether it is land, a thing,or other privileges of doing something or saying something’.
Violence Against Women: it was defined in ‘The Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women’ as any act of gender based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life.
Women: The ordinary dictionary meaning of a woman is “An adult female human being”. In a more restrict sense, it means all such females who have arrived at the age of puberty.
B A Garner, Black’s law dictionary(9thedn west publishing co 2004) p. 442
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