The widow of an Igbo man faces many hurdles. First she could be given to her deceased husband’s brother or other male relative to marry as the anthropologists had said. Thiswas expected in earlier times, although by the 1960’s and ‘70’s the custom was dying out. It could be advantageous if the widow needed help to provide for young children. But it took away her right to make decisions for herself and made her into chattel or property.

The writer Richard Mordi describes this practice[1]. Hesays the widowed woman cannot take possession of her husband’s land or belongings because she herself is part of his possessions. “How can property inherit another property?” He concludes that it is the payment of bride price that makes a woman into property that can be inherited. Another writer says, the widow becomes an “object of inheritance rather than subject of inheritance.”[2]

[1]An Appraisal of Inheritance Rights of Women in Nigeria, Richard Mordi,, p 21

[2] Davis V. Davis & Ors. (1929) 6 NLR 75, in Mordi, op.cit. p 22

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