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SYSTEM OF DISINHERITANCE

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A man could disinherit any of his children, usually in anger as a result of sheer wickedness and repeated damage by the son, by slaughtering a goat at the ancestral shrine with the announcement that from then on, that such a son was no longer his son. If he did this and the quarrel was unsettled before his death, the next son would take precedence. Such a disinherited son had no claim to the dead man’s property. Usually a son seeing his father in the mood that could take him thus to the ancestral shrine, ran helter shelter round the Edion’s houses to come and intervene. Invariably they came post-haste and poured oil en the troubled waters. If the goat had been killed before the arrival of the Egbele, the hasty and angry man was made to slaughter another goat to renounce all he had said. An appropriate fine was then inflicted on the stubborn son.

In the case of an Onojie’s heir, this would not be permissible since two types of property were involved. There was the private family property and the state property or title which was not the holder’s personal property, with the result that he could not do as he pleased with the latter. If he disinherited his first son, it was only in connection with the personal property, he had no authority over what happened to the Onojie title after he died. Were this safeguard not made, many Enijie could have made use of this power to wreak vengeance on their first sons, with whom there was no love lost

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