World Bulletin / News Desk
An influential Muslim women's organization on Sunday said it strongly opposes a controversial bill designed to make women inherit the same share of their parents' or husbands’ estate as their male counterparts, among other provisions.
Nigeria’s parliament is currently considering the bill which was re-proposed last September after being rejected in March. It is now at the committee stage, where its compliance with the constitution will be examined.
"We do not and will not support anything that contradicts the Sharia which is the Islamic jurisprudence. Specifically, Islam has a strong rule on inheritance," Hameedah Sanni, president of The Criterion, told said on the sidelines of the group's annual seminar in the commercial city of Lagos.
She called on the parliament to "consider the sentiment of the Muslim community," while debating the bill.
Apex Muslim bodies say that the sections of the bill offend the Islamic law on inheritance which states when and how heirs can inherit from their deceased relatives. The bodies state, however, that they support provisions that protect women from all forms of maltreatment.
The bill was introduced as a response to discrimination against women in matters of inheritance in some parts of Nigeria where they are denied rights of inheritance.
Sanni also called on authorities to lift the ban on the Muslim head covering in some government offices and schools, urging officials to abide by court rulings on the subject.
"On hijab, our request is simple. The government should allow Muslim female students and every Muslim female who wish to follow the injunction of their religion to cover their nakedness to do so. We do not ask the non-Muslims to follow suit," she said.
A court of appeals recently ruled against the Lagos state government’s ban on the hijab dismissing it as unconstitutional. The government has appealed the ruling at the supreme court. No hearings have been scheduled.
According to Islamic law of inheritance, women are entitled to inherit money and property from their spouses, parents and family members, but shares of each heir vary based on their circumstances and closeness to the deceased.
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