Widow Inheritance Or Levirate Marriage

On the death of a man his widow may become a wife of his brother or other close relative. The new relationship becomes effective without the need for a fresh bride-price or formal marriage. The term inheritance' gives a wrong impression of the operation tin customary law in this respect as it suggests an automatic acquisition by right of a wife.

The general practice recognizes the right of a widow to elect whether to remarry within her late husband's family or not. If she chooses to do so, she has a preference as to which brother or close relative to accept as a husband. Some communities allow sons to 'inherit' their late father's wives other than their own mother; others admit brothers and other relations only. The custom obtains in both the Ibo and Yoruba communities