Sultan of Sokoto Rejects Nigeria's Gender Equality Bill

Sultan of Sokoto Nigeria
The Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims, speaks to media at the state house, Abuja, Nigeria, December 27, 2011. Wole Emmanuel/Getty

The Sultan of Sokoto, Nigeria's most senior Muslim cleric, has opposed a gender equality bill seeking to ensure men and women have the same inheritance rights.

Despite the majority of the country's Christian body welcoming the proposal, Mohamed Sa'ad Abubakar said it would be against Allah's teachings, the BBC reported. In Nigeria, Christians comprise between 50 and 67 percent of the population.

The Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill states that a widow is entitled to the custody of her children unless it is contrary to the interests and welfare of the children.

It also states that a widow shall have the right to remarry any man of her choice and should have the right to a fair share in the inheritance of her late husband's property and the right to live in her matrimonial house.

According to Abubakar, the bill is unacceptable to Muslims because it is against Islamic teachings.

"Our religion is our total way of life; therefore, we will not accept any move to change what Allah permitted us to do," he said at a ceremony in Zamfara, according to the BBC.

"Islam is a peaceful religion; we have been living peacefully with Christians and followers of other religions in this country. Therefore, we should be allowed to perform our religion effectively."