Across its 36 States, Nigerian law is governed by a combination of federal, state and pre-independence English law. State law can further be divided into statutory legislation, customary law, and Sharia law, resulting in wide variations in applicable law especially in the domain of the family and marriage, where customary law plays a strong role.More specifically, three forms of marriage are recognised in the country: monogamous marriage registered under the civil marriage law, marriages performed under customary law, and marriages performed under Islamic law. The Child Rights Act of 2003 amended the Constitution to set the minimum age of marriage at 18 for both sexes, but only 24 of Nigeria’s 36 States have adopted the Act. As a result, State laws on the minimum age of marry vary: in southern Nigeria, the minimum legal age of marriage is between 18 and 21 years of age, depending on the region; in the north it ranges from 12 to 15 years. Bride price payments are practiced in many parts of Nigeria; there is no uniformity of laws regarding the amount, although some areas have made efforts to harmonise bride prices with mixed results.
No national laws criminalize domestic violence, although a few Nigerian states have a law in place that addresses the latter, for example the Domestic Violence Law of Lagos State (2007) and the Gender Based Violation Law of Ekiti State (2011). The definition of domestic violence in the Lagos State law, for example, includes physical, sexual, and economic abuse as well as emotional, verbal and psychological abuse. Nigeria’s Penal Code does, however, grant husbands permission to beat their wives, provided the violence does not result in serious injury. In the past, the police were usually reluctant to intervene in domestic violence cases, unless the woman has sustained serious injury. However, the Nigerian Police recent created a Gender Unit, specialized in violence directed toward women. Women’s rights organisations are active in providing support services to victims of domestic violence and other forms of violence against women, as well as raising awareness, and pushing for legislation to address domestic violence to be introduced.
 Women’s Aid Collective (hereafter WAC) (2008) p.22; US State Department (2012)  UNFPA. http://nigeria.unfpa.org/gender.html (accessed 23/06/2014)  US State Department (2012)  Idem  DHS (2008) p.241  Idem, p.248  MICS4 (2011) p.215  Section 357 and 358 of the Criminal Code; NGO Coalition (2008) p.63; WAC (2008) p.23  US Department of State (2012)  Idem  Oxfam (2013)  World Bank (2013)  US State Department (2012)  CEDAW (2008) pp.37-38  DHS (2008) p.300  Idem  MICS4 (2011) pp.208, 212  United Nations (2011)  US Department of State (2012)  DHS (2008) p.244  DHS (2008) p.70  DHS (2013) p.13 OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database, http://stats.oecd.org  DHS (2008) p.354
The male/female sex ratio for the working age population (15-64) in 2013 is 0.99 while the ratio at birth is 1.06.
Nigerian women have very limited ownership rights. Civil law entitles women to have access to land, and a few states have enshrined equal inheritance rights into law, but certain customary laws stipulate that only men have the right to inherit and own land. For women without the means to purchase land on their own, in practice, their ability to obtain land flows solely through marriage or family. Data from the government indicates a significant gender gap in land ownership. For free use, women make up only 24% of landowners and for distributed land, women make up only 26% of owners. Survey data reported by the British Council Nigeria in 2012 show that the percentage of women owning land decreased from 13% in 2003 to 7.2% in 2006 (Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire).
The Constitution and law provide for freedom of movement and access to public space and married and unmarried women may apply for passports and national ID cards in the same way as a man.In addition, under Constitutional law, women have the same right to choose their domicile and confer their citizenship in the same way as men. However, decision-making data from the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) shows that husbands primarily make decisions regarding their wives visits to family and relatives (44.4%), although many couples also make this decision jointly (43.6%). Data on the degree of marital control, shows that in 20.1% of cases husbands display 3 or more controlling behaviours, such as not allowing their wives to meet their friends (13.4%), limiting contact with her family (7.5%) or insisting on knowing where she is at all times (33.6%). Women in purdah (in Muslim communities in northern areas) cannot leave their homes without permission from their husbands and must be accompanied by a man at all times when in public. Purdah also restricts women’s freedom of dress in that Muslim women must be veiled in public. Widows in these regions face the greatest degree of discrimination: they are confined to the home and must keep their heads shaven and wear mourning dress. More broadly, security officials have restricted freedom of movement by enforcing curfews in areas where terrorist activity or ethno-religious violence has taken place. Checkpoints and roadblocks are occasionally reported to have used excessive force or extorted money and goods from travellers.
 World Bank (2013)  Idem  DHS (2008) p.244  Idem, p.270  US Department of State (2012); WAC (2008) p.46  US Department of State (2012)  Idem  Freedom House (2012)  US Department of State (2012)  Idem  Ikuomola and Okunola (2011)  US Department of State (2012)  UNDP (n.d.)  Kolawole et al. (2012) p.139  Udodinma Okoronkwo-Chukwu (2013)  International Labour Organization (ILO) (2010); World Bank (2013)  CEDAW (2008b) p.76  World Bank (2013)