Inheritance Under Etsako Native Law And Custom

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Last update 03-06-2020) 

The pattern of inheritance is influenced by the presence of the two alternative forms of marriage (enabo being more or less equivalent to amoya in this respect) Unless redeemed by his father in one of the ways described above a son of an isomi marriage inherit in the descent group of his mother.

In the case of amoya marriages Sons are the first heirs, and the first-born amoya son receives the first and largest share of his deceased father’s property. All North Ibie and Ukpila, according to Thomas, he is, indeed, the sole her. At Agbede, on the other hand, the first Sons of all amoya wives get shares, while at Auchi and Uzairhue all amoya sons or all aduit amoya sons shares in order of age

Failing sons the heir is said to be, at Ibie and Ukpila, the eldest daughter and she is followed by the eldest surviving brother. Elsewhere, however. Brother appear to take precedence over daughters. When an amoya son is too young to receive his inheritance his father’s brother becomes his guardian—marrying his mother at Agbede, according to one account—and takes on the responsibility of bringing him up and providing him with a wife. At Fuga (Avianwu tribe), Thomas reports a rather different inheritance pattern whereby the chief heir is the brother, brother’s son or own son, according to which is the eldest.
In some places daughters may inherit some of their fathers’ movable property such as cloth, beads, and goats, especially when the estate is a large one.

The position of children of isomi marriages who remain with the mother’s family is not clear. A list given by Thomas suggests that at Fuga an isomi son inherit from almost any paternal or maternal kinsman who is also the son of an isomi marriage. Other statements indicate that an isomi son’s best chances of inheritance are from his mother’s brothers who have no adult amoya sons. Amoya widows pass to the heirs of the deceased (a man cannot of course marry his own mother), though older widows, even of amoya, may be allowed to return home.

Rules of inheritance of women’s property depend upon whether the deceased has an amoya or isomi wife. In either case her children are her heirs though at Agenebode (Uwepa-Uwano) the brother of an isomi wife is said to have preference over her son who may, however, inherit from the latter. Here an amoya wife’s property is said to go to other anioya wives of the same husband or to his brothers’ wives.

At Auchi an amoya wife’s heir, failing children is her husband. In similar circumstances the property of an isomi wife passes to her sister or other members of her descent group. Where an isomí has a son he should show the property to his mother’s descent group and receive it back from them.

The division of property is said to be supervised by the headman of the deceased’s ward
Succession to statuses, where hereditary, generally passes to the next oldest male rather than to Sons.

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