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Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III

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Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III Rejects Gender Equality Bill

The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has voiced his opposition to a bill seeking to ensure men and women have equal inheritance rights stating that Muslims would not accept the violation of Islamic law guaranteeing men a greater share.

The Sultan said that the bill, which seeks equality for male and female children in the sharing of inherited family wealth or property, is against Islamic religion and, therefore, unacceptable to Muslims.

The bill also proposes that a widow is entitled to the custody of her children unless it is contrary to the interests and welfare of the children.

It also seeks that a widow shall have the right to remarry any man of her choice and should have the right to a fair share in the inheritance of her late husband’s property and the right to live in her matrimonial house.

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However, the Sultan said: “Our religion is our total way of life; therefore, we will not accept any move to change what Allah permitted us to do. “Islam is a peaceful religion; we have been living peacefully with Christians and followers of other religions in this country. Therefore, we should be allowed to perform our religion effectively.”

He called on the Senate not to consider the bill because of its religious implications.

In October 2016, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said it did not find anything wrong with the bill because in “Christianity inheritance is shared equally between male and female”.

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Lawmakers say they will consider public opinion before a decision is taken on which aspects of the bill to approve and which aspects to reject.

In March 2016, Nigeria’s senate rejected an earlier version of the bill, saying it was incompatible with Nigerian culture and religious beliefs.

Activists have pushed for the bill to end discrimination against women.

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