Yesterday, Mavin artist welcomed his first child, a boy, with his girlfriend who remains unidentified. The excited new father took to twitter and shared the following: “There comes a time when a boy has to become a MAN. The love of my life just gave me a bouncing baby boy. To God be the glory. Now I feel my life has a purpose. To live for my boy.”
Congrats to D’Prince, his son is adorable.
Now on to the purpose of this article. First, D’Prince joins a growing list of “baby daddys” or men with “baby mamas” in Nigeria’s music industry. We do not see children born out of wedlock in other entertainment industries at the high rates the music industry seems to churn them out. See AML archived article: Forget Marriage, Bring on the Babies: 20 Nigerian Celebrities with Children Out of Wedlock.
Second, as it stands, having children out of wedlock is simply a bad idea for a Nigerian woman in Nigeria. Nevertheless, since the trend seems to be increasing in Nigeria’s music/entertainment industries, is it possible that it may change the current inheritance laws for children born out of wedlock in Nigeria?
The Current State of the Law for “Illegitimate” Children i.e. Born Out of Wedlock in Nigeria.
When a Nigerian woman chooses to have an “illegitimate” child/children i.e. for a Nigerian man, what is the impact, in terms of the inheritance rights of that child, under Nigerian laws?
The quick answer is that this area of law in general is complex and volatile, but what remains clear is that the “illegitimate” child is unaccounted for in the equation under Nigerian laws. This compounded with the stigma and ridicule for that child that comes by virtue of being an “illegitimate child” from children and adults alike, is a bit much for any parent to ask their child to shoulder such burden, if they do not have to.
First, as to family law, these children do not have the luxury of having the state, or government force their fathers to provide financial and medical support for them. There are a few states (Lagos included) that have enacted some laws to protect these children, but these laws are the bare minimum, at best.
Second, independent of the lack of protection under the family law system, under the inheritance system, these “illegitimate” children are unrecognized. The vast majority of Nigerian men who die, die intestate (i.e. die without a will). This means, for the most part, customary laws come into play (although there are other laws at play including Sharia law) and the estates of these deceased men are divided in one of several ways: a) in some tribes, the estate is distributed to the eldest son of the deceased i.e. eldest son from a legitimate marriage; or b) if there is no child or the children are minors, the property is left for the brother of the deceased; or c) within some tribes, the property is divided equally among the legitimate children of the deceased or some other derivative forms.
The point is “Illegitimate” children are generally NOT recognized under Nigerian laws in terms of inheritance rights of their fathers. Further, their unmarried mothers are certainly not recognized nor entitled to any inheritance from these fathers.
Knowing this current state of the law, do you think that the increase of children out of wedlock from our Nigerian music celebrities will help change this law in the nearest future?
Who do you think will advocate for this change? The celebrity fathers like Davido and D’Prince or the baby mamas?
Please share your thoughts with me on Facebook, twitter or right here on the blog.