A High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has passed a groundbreaking judgement in favour of female inheritance rights. The court instructed Mr. Sampson Silas Udoh, a resident of Itiam Etoi in Uyo Local Government Area, to compensate his nieces, Mrs Bakabasi Victor James and Miss Ndantiabasi Isaac Silas, with a sum of N20 million for infringing on their basic rights and preventing them from claiming their late father’s assets.
The court’s ruling, delivered by Justice Ntong Ntong, came in response to a lawsuit filed by Mr. Udoh against his nieces in August 2022. His argument was based on the premise that as females, they should not be entitled to inherit their father’s property.
Justice Ntong Ntong, during his judgement, condemned Mr. Udoh’s action as “repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience” and described the maltreatment of his nieces as “obnoxious, offensive and unconstitutional.” He highlighted the need for community leaders in Akwa Ibom State to recognise and respect the equal rights of female children in property inheritance.
The court further noted that the respondents had been living in their father’s house, built between 1976 and 1980, since their birth. Their attempts to claim their rightful inheritance were met with resistance and aggression by their uncle.
In the concluding remarks, Justice Ntong asserted that Mr. Udoh’s attempt to exploit his nieces’ vulnerability due to their gender was unacceptable. He affirmed that the police and other respondents had not violated Mr. Udoh’s rights. Instead, Mr. Udoh was found guilty of infringing on his nieces’ rights.
The court finally dismissed Mr. Udoh’s application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights and ordered him to pay a total of twenty million, one hundred thousand Naira in damages to his nieces.