Perturbed by increasing cases of property dispute in courts, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mrs. Antonia Akinlawon has charged Nigerians to cultivate favourable disposition to writing of ‘Will’ as a measure to ensure ease transfer of properties after the demise of the family head.
She declared that making dispositions of one’s assets to take effect on or after death ensures that the testator has liberty to dispose off his property in the way he likes that no one can modify.
Akinlawon, a member of Federation of International Women Lawyer (FIDA) spoke during a lecture entitled, “Speaking from the Grave” which is the second edition of Olutunmbi Joanna Maduka Annual Lecture (OMAL Series) /78th birthday organised by the Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN), in Lagos.
Overtime, the thought of making a ‘Will’ forces most people to think about their mortality and the inevitability of death, hence the disinterest in such legal process.She disclosed that under all the applicable laws, every person has the capacity to make a Will even if the person is subject to Customary Law.
However, she maintained that there are some exceptions with regards to infants or Children, persons of unsound mind, the blind/illiterate, fraud or coercion and others. According to Akinlawon, apart from privileged Wills, for a Will to be valid it must comply with the formalities stated in all the relevant Wills Law or Act.
She said formalities that are obligatory include; the Will must be in writing, signed by the Testator or by some other person in his presence and at his direction at the foot or end thereof, testator’s signature shall be made or acknowledged by the Testator in the presence of two witnesses, two witnesses who must be present at the same time must then attest and subscribe the Will in the presence of the Testator and no obliteration, interlineations or other alteration made in any Will after execution thereof shall be valid or have any effect except such alteration shall be executed.
The president, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Dr. Felicia Agubata in her speech, described Mrs. Maduka as one of the very best, the engineering profession has to offer and it is indeed right to honour her because she earned it by dint of hard work, leadership and service to humanity.
She stated that the celebrant’s professional accomplishments and standing in the society are compelling, hence the event serves better than the conventional posthumous activities that have become standard in Nigeria. The National president of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Adekunle Mokuolu represented by Engr. Adeniran Ibitoye, Vice President of NSE stressed that Will writing is very important to prevent unnecessary hassle, disagreement over property transfer and for peace to rein in the families.
He urged government at all levels to intensify advocacy on will writing in the country. In her remarks, the founder of APWEN/celebrant, Maduka commended the association for its unflinching commitment toward galvanizing the interest of the girl-child in engineering as a profession. She also thanked its leadership for the legacy that has come to stay in her honour through the yearly lecture.