Cover Page




Table of Content




Background of the Study

Statement of the Problems  

Objective of the Study

Research Questions

Research Methodology

Significance of the Study  

Scope and Limitation of the Study

Notes and References





Female Inheritance  

Female Inheritance among the Jews  

Female Inheritance According to Islam  

Female Inheritance in Africa Societies  

Female Inheritance in Nigeria Societies

Right of Widow

Culture and Female Inheritance in Nigeria  

Discriminatory Property Inheritance under Customary Law in Nigeria

Primogeniture Ru1e

The Right of Spouses

Notes and References




Ibo Female Inheritance Trend  

Widowhood Rituals - Igba Nkpe  

Ritual Seclusion - Ino Na Nso  

The Discriminatory Inheritance of Female Gender among the

Igbo of Eastern Nigeria (Nkushi)  

Notes and References



Summary of Findings














The study of women as a vital and autonomous social force, as well as the Treatment of their weal and woes as an intrinsic part of overall social dynamics, is a child of very recent birth indeed The Roman World was not  the only one in history in which females remained in the background in politics and business. The females of mid-Victorian England were equally without rights, equally Victims of double standards of sexual morality.  

Equally, they were exposed to risk and ruin when they stepped outside the home and the church. Study referred to discriminatory inheritance of female ender as the invisibility of African women in any serious study of history and society in spite of the fact at anthropology has not been an exclusive male preserve.

If the state of African women studies is as bad as these and other authorities suggest, it is not surprising that even flow when the world appears to be waking to its responsibility in this regard, there are still segments of the field which continue to be in a state of some neglect. While topics such as marriage and fairly, the economic role and political rights of women have received a lair m assure of attention, a subject like female inheritance and widowhood practices remains largely neglected. Many of such books have no entry whatever under the term 'widowhood' in their indexes. For the most part what passing references made to the institution are made under such subject as 'burial' or 'funeral rites' and 'death'.

Although widows constitute large proportion of the adult female population in many African communities, research confirms that systematic investigation is missing an the result is that much of the scanty information we have on widowhood practices is what may be described as raw or unprocessed information. Attempt has not been made to explain the practice in their sociological and cosmological context For the same 2 reason of lack of analytical app ach, comparative studies of widowhood practices appear to the conspicuous s by their total absence. The great fact of the bewildering plurality of culture in Africa suggests that we are entitled to expect a wide variety of widow and practices not only as whether a local group is patrilineal, matrilineal, verilocal or exorilocal and so on.

In Igboland for example, there is significant differences between the different sub-cultures that are found within the ethnic group. These are likely to be the result of various influences ranging from historical contacts with their neighbours as well as western influence.

It is a fact that widowhood throughout Africa is a period of hardship and deprivation. It includes varying degrees of physical seclusion, and a stale of ritual contamination or impurity calling for purification. Another similarity that should be taken into account is the fact that African peoples carried substantial elements of their cultural practice, including female inheritance or widowhood practices, into the two new world religions which they embraced. The result is that female inheritance practices in Africa today are a bewildering and confusing mix of traditional African practices and practices borrowed from Islam a d Christianity.

Present day Igbo society is what may he regarded as a transitional society. A society characterized by a discontinuity of cultural perceptions arising out of the juxtaposition of mental ties formed by external influences and variables. Some of the most pensive influences on the Igbo people and their society have come from outside Igbo land. These include the slave trade, colonization, amalgamate n of present northern and southern Nigeria in 1914 by the British administration. Others include external economic and social relations (trade, missionaries and education), the First and Second World Wars, independence and the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War from 1967-70.

Contemporary Igbo society is undoubtedly a transitional society in the above sense. Although the 19b have been regarded as very receptive to change, certain customary practices have survived this transition. Female inheritance as shall be shown here is among them." It should therefore be noted that many cultural beliefs and practices surrounding female inheritance ceremonies have seemingly survived largely unchanged in modern Igbo society.



One of the major problems facing by female children in Nigeria societies is gender discrimination and oppression during inheritance process and practice. Another problem is preferential treatment and bias against female gender after the death of their Inline of the above assertion, female daughter of the deceases in so e Igbo societies were not also to inherit from their lather properties which show the level at which female children have been oppressed and victimized.

The theme in the presentation of African women through history typifies them as oppressed and totally subordinate to men. The main works of this type are not historical texts as such but ethnographic and monographs such as the work of the Ottenbergs and that of Evans Pritchard. These studies assert that the African woman has a position and status that is in many ways definitely inferior to hat of man in spite of the fact that she does most of the hard work of support ng the family. They maintain also that the greater number of indigenous societies (in Africa) reserve for women a place which is clearly inferior, approaching that of a domestic animal. They focused on such issues as chit hood betrothal, polygamy or the lack of divorce right.



This study will analyze female in heritance practice in a contemporary Igbo society. The importance of cultural tradition will be highlighted in an attempt to understand such practices and rituals. The following are other objectives of this study.

1.       An examination of the ritual and practices which a woman undergoes on the death of the husband.

2.        An examination of Igbo manage patterns, domestic and finial relationship, its impact on fe ale inheritance practices and the widow's life.

3.     An examination of widow's economic survival strategies. The economic system of the Igbo will been a mined to highlight the impact it has on widows economic survival.

4.      To identify various problem and challenges facing by women as a result of female inheritance Practices



·        Does woman undergoes any rituals practices as a result of death of the husband?

·        What are the factors that constitute Igbo marriage patterns, domestic and official relationships?

·          What impact does Igbo marriage patterns have on female inheritance practices and the widow, life?

·          What are the strategies used h widows for economic survival?

·               What are the various problems and challenges facing by women as a result of female inheritance practices?



The research methods and procedure adopted Iii collection of data for this study was carried out to make a historical overview of female discriminatory inheritance Amon Igbo communities in Nigeria.

Secondary source of data collection was used for the study. The data were extracted from academic journals, annual reports, annual workshops/seminar papers, internet browsing and various textbooks on discriminatory inheritance of female among Igbo societies in Nigeria.



Despite the fact that many research have been conducted on this study area, this is also very significant, given the following reason; first, women will be educated on the needs to know their right and so come together towards women empowerment and enlightenment programmes, if the information provided in this study is strictly adhered to.

Secondly, this study stand to i prove the state of academic development through discovery of new knowledge and in formation as regards to female inheritance, methods and practices to reduce gender discriminatory of female inheritance among Igbo societies and Nigerian societies at large.

Thirdly, various non-govern men I organizations and government agencies stand a better chance to appellate further the needs for extensive care and empowerment of widows and the needs to intensify efforts towards eradication of female inheritance.

Lastly, this study is also very significant because it serves as a secondary data for other researchers who may want 9 conduct research in related topic especially in academic discipline.



Since the researcher cannot over the whole societies in Nigeria, the scope of this study will be limited to Igbo societies in Nigeria. This is due to limitation of time and financial constraint. Other limitation is inadequacy of material on this research topic. Therefore, this study will be limited to female inheritance in Igbo com unities of eastern Nigeria.
















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