A Nigerian man, Mr. Sampson Udoh has been ordered to pay N20 million to two of his nieces for breaching their fundamental rights.
Udoh is an indigene of Itiam Etoi in Uyo Local Government Area of the state.
Akwa Ibom State High Court made the order in its judgment, yesterday, in a suit by Sampson Udoh, seeking enforcement of his application to stop his nieces from inheriting their late father’s property.
Respondents in the suit were Mrs. Bakabasi James, Miss Ndantiabasi Silas and Mr. Williams Ubetem, Investigating Police Officer (IPO) attached to the state Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia and the state Commissioner of Police.
The court noted that the main contention of the applicant was that his nieces, being female children of his late elder brother, Mr. Isaac Udoh, should not inherit their father’s property because they are women.
The court noted that the women said their late father built his house between 1976 and 1980 and that they’ve lived in their father’s house from birth till date without any problem, until they attempted to appropriate the inheritance and their uncle unleashed mayhem on them.
Justice Ntong Ntong in the judgment, described the applicant’s action as obnoxious and repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
The court said: “The maltreatment is opprobrium, offensive and unconstitutional.”
The court held that it was high time paramount rulers, clan heads, village heads and community leaders in Akwa Ibom State came to terms with the facts that female children have equal stake with their male counterparts to inherit their parents property.
The court held: “The first and second respondents acquired their father’s property at Isaac Silas Obot’s compound, Nung Udoetok Ibom Adia Abasi of Itiam Etoi, Uyo, a fact contained in exhibits canvassed in their counter affidavit in the minutes of the peace meeting and property sharing agreement of Udoetok Ibom Adia Abasi Family, dated January 11, 2019.
“The applicant cannot be allowed to take advantage of the vulnerability of his nieces just because they were born girls and women into their family.
“From the totality of credible evidence before the court, the Police and other respondents did not and are not likely to encroach or infringe upon the rights of the applicant.
“Instead, it was the applicant that infringed upon the fundamental rights of his nieces, with impunity, which cannot be allowed to stand.
“The application for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental rights has failed woefully in its entirety and dismissed same with cost of total sum of N20.1 million, payable to the 1st and 2nd respondents at N10.05 million each.”