Global Resources

Women's land rights handbook: Nigeria

Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat
Publication Date: Jan 2013

Across Africa, land is integral to identity and existence. Access to, and ownership of land for women is often problematic – particularly when laws and culture collide. Land issues, including family property matters, are often determined within entrenched cultural norms, resulting in the application of a hybrid legal interpretation of both customary and national law that leaves many women at a disadvantage. Under the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015, the Commonwealth Secretariat has spearheaded efforts to secure women’s rights to land in Africa.

This handbook on women’s land rights in Nigeria draws on both the technical expertise of the Secretariat officials, as well as the local experience of Nigerian government officials, women’s activists, traditional leaders, judges and rural women. It focuses on reconciling customary Nigerian norms with more formal judicial processes, national laws and international and regional human rights standards. The aim of this handbook is to address both policy imperatives and realities on the ground, so as to inform and assist Nigerian women regarding legal procedures relating to land and property rights.