Widows rights centre
THE BACK GROUND
In 2014, the supreme court of Nigeria, delivered a judgment in relation to our culture and customs and the Law in Nigeria . According to the judgment, “Any culture that dis-inherits a daughter from her father’s estate or wife from her husband’s property by reason of God instituted gender differences should be punitively dealt with”.
The Supreme Court, which described the culture as discriminatory, maintained that “The punishment should serve as a deterrent measure and ought to be meted out against the perpetrators of the culture and custom.” “No matter the circumstances of the birth of a female child, such a child is entitled to an inheritance from her later father’s estate. “Consequently, the customary law, which dis-entitles a female child from partaking in the sharing of her deceased father’s estate, is breach of Section 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution, a fundamental rights provision guaranteed to every Nigerian. “ The said discriminatory customary law is void as it conflicts with Section 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution. Despite this judgment, this practice against widows still persists due to lack of awareness on the widows rights by the populace.
The Felix king charity foundation’s WIDOWS RIGHTS CENTRE is established to create awareness on the widows rights and also support widows with legal aid support services in pursuant of their rights.
Words from FKF Legal consultant: John Osighala.
The Widows Rights Centre is a follow up on the International Widows Day Conference organized by FKF on the 23rd of June, 2016. The discuss, papers and imputes at the event, has culminated in the setting up of Legal aid to widows. The Centre have therefore been set up by the foundation.
At the international widows day event. The conference had in all the discussions raised key issues;
- Legal awareness
- Cultural fears and barriers
- Advocacy to implement the laws already in places in various States.
- Political will to implement the Law.
- Access to justice and means to finance Legal actions
- Economic sagacity, and investment by women
- The need to prepare the family for the eventuality by writing Wills, Trust Deeds, and Investment.
ACTION ON RECOMMENDATION
The foundation has reviewed the recommendations and inputs at its 1st widows conference and intends working on these recommendations with a view to achieving the aims of defending the rights of widows. These recommendations are very far-reaching and enormous, but the Felix King Foundation is confident that nothing is impossible if there is a will, to this end the Foundation intends starting up of a Legal awareness and aid Centre.
LEGAL AID CENTRE
- The Centre will cater for the Legal aids of widows who are facing challenges from
- Enhancements on their Legal rights to inheritance, and all sundry issues parting to the deceased Estate.
- Defending widows from unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of their situation.
- Preparing Letters of Administration and offering Legal services thereon.
- Defending and appearing in Court on behalf of identified cases.
The Centre will be run by active Lawyers and will start with a Project 100 with full compliments run by the foundation.
THE PROJECT 20
The Project will target 20 Cases as a Pet Project. The 20 cases will be drawn from matters brought before the Centre, these matters/cases will be treated and filtered and shared amongst Lawyers in the Centre. FKF will fund the matters at no cost to the widows, viz filling fees, transport expense, and fees. A monthly brief of the matter will be circulated on its website and press will be duly informed. The initially Project 20 upon completion, the FKF will then appraise, the Legal team’s performance, issues, challenges and decide if to expand the scope, reduce or maintain the existing stand.
The Legal fees paid to partner lawyers of Felix King Foundation is not fixed and determined by the complexity of each Case, distance to be covered by the lawyer. These matter are not really commercial litigation and the lawyers are aware of this and no issues will really arise here.
John . A. OSIGHALA
Legal Consultant FKF