Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha (Owerri)
That the 9th House of the Imo State House Of Assembly is a blessing to Ndimo and a veritable partner with the 3-R visionary leadership of His Excellency Governor Hope Uzodinma cannot be overemphasized. The Imo State House Of Assembly, IMHA, through productive legislation, oversight and appropriation etc has truly taken Imo to the height of Effective and Efficient Legislative Responsibility that should be applauded by all and sundry.
The Present House has passed a number of People-oriented Bills And Motions. These Bills which our People’s Governor had already assented to, and have become laws, are already imparting positively on the lives and prosperity of the good people of Imo State. Go And Verify.
Few days ago, precisely on the 31st of January 2023, the Imo State House Of Assembly hit the Gavel once again when it passed the Bill empowering women to inherit and share in family property. The Bill was titled : *“A Bill For A Law To Provide For The Right Of Female Person To Inherit And Share In Family Property, And For Other Related Matters* “. (Report Of The House Committee On Judiciary).
*Let Me Open The minds Of The Reading Public :* On the 5th of July 2022, Hon Barrister Dominic Ezerioha, the eloquent, visionary and pragmatic Member representing Oru-west State Constituency, before the floor of the House read the Bill seeking to protect the Property Rights Of a Woman/Girl Child.
When Hon Ezerioha was eventually given the floor, he successfully canvased the major aims and objectives of the proposed Bill. While still discussing the Bill, in a bid to win the support of His Distinguished Honourable colleagues, Hon Ezerioha went further to cite Classicus Authorities and even the Supreme Court Judgement on the matter, to back up the proposed Bill, And also in respect to the angle of Repugnancy to Natural Justice, Equity and Good Conscience.
Having successfully canvased the Bill on the floor of the House, and having the support of almost all the Honourable Members present at Plenary, it scaled to Second reading, and was thereafter referred to the House Committee On Judiciary.
According to the Supreme Court Judgement which Hon Barrister Dominic Ezerioha used to back up the Bill, it said ” *No Matter the circumstances of the birth of a female child, such a child is entitled to the an inheritance from her late father’s estate”*.
In affirming the High Court and Court Of Appeal Judgements, the Supreme Court held that the Customary Law which barred a Female Child, irrespective of the circumstances of the birth, from inheriting or partaking in the sharing of the Property and Estate of her father, was a violation of her right to freedom from discrimination enshrined in section 42 (1) (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This matter was settled in 2014 by the Supreme Court, which Judgement resulted from a Suit filed by Ms Gladys Ada Ukeje at the Lagos High Court claiming that being a daughter, she was equally entitled to administer and inherit the Property of her late father, Mr Lazarus Ogbonna Ukeje. The Lagos High Court had given judgement in her favour promoting appeals to the Court of Appeal, and eventually the Supreme Court, both of which ruled in her favour.
This aspect of the judgement of the Supreme Court actually aided the House Committee On Judiciary Of The Imo State House Of Assembly in its report, which was submitted after many weeks and months of intense work by the Committee Members led by Hon Barrister Frank Ugboma.
It was therefore no surprising that on the 31st of January 2023, the vibrant Speaker Of Imo State House Of Assembly, Rt Honourable Barrister Anthony Emeka Nduka, on the floor of the House announced that the Report of the Committee On Judiciary (For The Bill) would be looked into, hence he refered It to the Committee of the whole House.
Thereafter, the House was dissolved into the Committee of the whole House, with Rt Honourable Anthony Emeka Nduka as Chairman, after a motion was moved and adopted to that effect.
It should be noted that there were heated deliberations by Honourable Members during the Committee Of The Whole. The Report of House Committee On Judiciary was looked into, CLAUSE BY CLAUSE. The Bill having passed through the Committee of the Whole, and having been read the Third time, the Clerk, was directed by the ebullient Speaker, Rt Honourable Barrister Anthony Emeka Nduka, to produce a clean copy of the Bill for the Governor’s assent.
Clearly, this is a commendable Bill, for which an applause from the good people of Imo State should be given the Legislative Arm Of Government in the state.
Nevertheless, while waiting for His Excellency Governor Hope Uzodinma to give his assent to this Bill, it should be noted that the IMHA has finally ended the denial of women inheritance prevalent among traditions and cultures in the State. O yes, our women can no longer be treated as second class or even third class citizens in their own families.
“That you are woman does not mean you are not entitled to inherit what rightfully belongs to your family. You didn’t decide to become a woman. You didn’t create yourself. Since it is Almighty God that created you, through a family, you should be entitled to partake in sharing the family property”. QED.
Therefore, while giving an applause to the Assembly, special thanks should be given to the Chief Sponsor of the Bill, Hon Barrister Dominic Ezerioha and the following co-sponsors ==
* Hon Chief Eddy Obinna
* Hon Samuel Otuibe
* Hon Arthur Egwim
* Hon Johnson Duru
* Hon Ngozi Obiefule
* Hon Uju Onwudiwe
* Hon Solomon Anukam
* Hon Philip Ejiogu
* Hon Paschal Okolie
* Hon Anyadike Nwosu
* Hon Chigozie Nwaneri
* Hon Frank Ugboma
* Hon Uche Ogbuagu
* Hon Michael Crown
Also, the Speaker Of Imo State House Of Assembly should be highly commended for having the *Audacity of Courage* to pass the Bill by Hitting the Gavel, thereby setting the Imo Society on a Platform for equal opportunities, competitive growth, actualization of potentials and sustainable development.
His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma will, in the next few days, append his signature to this Bill, thereby, making it become a law.
Congratulations, Imo Women.
I Rest My Pen.
Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha writes from Office Of The Speaker, Imo State House Of Assembly.
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