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This research is entitled “A Study of Domestic Implementation in Nigeria of the Concept of Gender Equality Under International Law”. The Research started by way of introduction by explaining that the Nigerian societies are patriarchal in nature. The researchstudied domestic implementation in Nigeria of the concept of gender equality under international law. The sources of information used in this research are relevant justification of this research is that despite the availability of the various laws at the different levels (that is international, regional and domestic) there still exist to a large degree of unequal treatment between the female and male in the society. In the light of this, the objective of this research is to identify the adequacy as it is. Thus, in the course of this research, it was found (among others) that failure women (CEDAW) as principal instrument on this subject matter necessitated the wrong practice as it is. Finally, this research was concluded by recommending that domestication of CEDAW a necessity for the government and other relevant stakeholders as a basis for combating inequity in Nigeria.



1.1       Backgroundto the Study

Nigeria society like most societies in the world is patrilineal and patriarchal. Although, the

level of this patriarchy may differ in relative terms from Nigeria one community to another.

The question of the “universal” (equal) or „relative‟ (contingent) character of the rights

declared in the major instruments of the human rights movement has been a source of debate

and advocacy from the beginning when the movement‟s started. The contest between these

positions look on renewed vigour as human rights movement slowly developed and reneged

on making specific provision on gender issues.1 There have also been diverging theories on

the sovereign autonomy of a state to follow it own paths in this matter. For example, the

universal theory of human rights claims that the rights to equality and equity enshrines in

international treaties must be applicable all over the world in the various domiciliary legal

system, even in societies that are fundamentally cultural, religious and or customary.2 In

those arguably patriarchal societies such as Nigeria (and in sub-Saharan African in general),

laws, rooted in customs and traditions often discriminate against women.3

These discriminatory trends against Nigerian and African women are violations of the

fundamental human rights against discrimination, a right recognized in a number of core

international human rights instrument. The status accorded to women relative to men is a

low one. Such status difference almost and or always translates into unequal recognition and

1 Steiner J and Alston P (2000) International Human Rights in context: Law, Politics and Moral p. 312 2 Ibid. p 161

3 Elizabeth D. and Birgit E. (2010) “Securing Land Rights for Women” 4 Vol. 1 Journal of Eastern African Studies p.91 @ 98.


treatment of the two sexes in various ways. Quite often, this inherent prejudice has meant

discrimination and disadvantages against women in various spheres of human endeavours.

The Nigerian communities being patriarchal societies believe that the traditional role of a

woman is that of a child bearer, home keeper, comforter, and food provider for husband,

children and at large presupposes that the propagations of the male as the superior sex for

purpose of politics, participation and power relation including family and social decision

making. Nigerian women constitute the majority of the peasant labour force in agricultural

sector, while most of the others occupy bottom of occupational ladder and continue to

channel into services and domestic occupation.Politically, Nigerian women are negligible

and undermined force with little political involvement.4

In most Nigerian communities, women have no right to land, inheritance of family property

and equal opportunity. For instance, some Igbo customary law rules carry the practice further

that, when a father or a husband dies, it is purported that only the son(s) have the right to

inherit him while the daughter(s) and wives are treated as some forms of chattel.5Whileunder

Islamic law, a daughter or wife is given the right to inherit her father or husband but her

share of the inheritance is half of her male counterpart.6

It should be noted at this juncture that the rights given to Nigerian women had been properly

examined in the decided case of OnyiborAnekwe and Anor vs. Mrs. Maria Nweke7 where the

Supreme Court held that Nigerian customs which disinherit women are repugnant to natural

justice, equity and good conscience and should therefore not be allowed to stand. The

4Omonubi, M.M (2003) Gender Inequality in Nigeria, Spectrum Books Ltd. Ibadan, p.65 5Asika vs. Atuanya (2008) 17 NWLR (pt 1117) p. 286

6 Q4 verse 11

7 (2014) LPELR 22697 (SC)

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