FEMALE PROPERTY INHERITANCE PATTERN IN ESAN LAND, NIGERIA
Author: EROMONSELE, ANDREW O, firstname.lastname@example.org
University: AMBROSE ALLI UNIVERSITY, EKPOMA, Nigeria
Supervisor: PROF (MRS) EGUAVOEN
Year of completion: 2012
Language of dissertation: ENGLISH
Areas of Research:
The study investigated the Inheritance Pattern in Esan land. Esan people inhabit the five Local Governments which constitute Central Senatorial District of Edo State. The study had five objectives. Part of the issues which needed to be explained include the different types or variants of inheritance system; the socio-cultural factors militating against the women from accessing or controlling property; the extent to which these constraints affected the economic empowerment of the women group; the relevance of these systems of Inheritance in a globalizing world and the coping strategies adopted by Esan women in living with inheritance pattern in Esan land. Theoretical frameworks applied in this study were two, namely: Feminism (with particular emphasis on African Feminism) and Diffusion theory. A Qualitative research method was adopted. The five local government areas that make up Central Senatorial District of Edo state were taken as cluster. From this cluster, three were purposely selected and included in the study. Data for the study were collected by means of Key Informant Interview, Focused Group Discussion and Case studies (including life experiences of some widows). In terms of findings, it was discovered that all the variants of marriage, family and inheritance system in the study population were meant to ensure and uphold male dominance. To achieve this aim women were manipulated consciously or unconsciously to give credence and legitimacy to the system. It was found that a lot of socio-cultural constraints were designed ab initio to restrict women from inheriting property especially productive assets. The study found that for urban localities in the study area, some have taken steps to challenge in the court of law the pattern of inheritance because of its discriminatory tendencies. Rural areas in Esan were yet to key into this consciousness. Three major strategies were identified to have been employed by women to cope with the inheritance systems: The first involved those that resigned to fate and accepted the system. The second are those who have also accepted the inheritance system but devised a means of creating their own wealth; and thirdly, those who stressed the need for women empowerment and education of the girl child and vocational training. In order to squarely address the problem of property inheritance in Esan land mass education and sensitization of women were recommended. Other measures suggested include the education of the girl child as a veritable tool in breaking the dependency chain, the need to revisit and review Esan customary laws of inheritance. Finally there appears to be some windows of change opening up in relation to the issue of inheritance systems in Esan land. It is hoped that the increase emphasis on education for both sexes in the area couple with emerging radical view among certain religious denominations may alter the situation in the near future.