This work examined the legal status of the custody of children born outside wedlock in the Ikwerre of the Niger Delta. It shows that children all over the world whether born within or outside wedlock have inalienable rights which must be protected. Thus, making a case for equal treatment and opportunity which must be protected and to forestall the present struggle and remove the stigma of being called a bastard. The work also focuses on the
custody of children born outside wedlock from being discriminated from inheritance of their biological father’s property upon acknowledgement of paternity and also having
equal share from children within wedlock. The findings made from this work is that in spite of the provision of section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which
eliminated the status of children born out of wedlock as illegitimate in Nigeria, the constitution has not resolved the status of a child whose paternity has not been acknowledged by the putative father if such a child can inherit in his intestate estate. The work concluded that depriving children born out of wedlock from the inheritance of their father or mother’s property is illegal as same amounts to discrimination against them. A child born out of wedlock is a victim of a circumstance which he did not create and as such, should not be made to suffer because of the circumstances of his birth and being deprived from inheriting
from the father or mother. This work recommended that there should be enactment of a law against producing children outside
wedlock, there should be an amendment of adoption laws in Nigeria to provide for the adoption of children born outside wedlock by their biological fathers or natal families if the fail to acknowledge them.
CUSTODY AND RIGHTS OF CHILDREN BORN OUTSIDE WEDLOCK IN THE IKWERRE OF THE NIGER DELTA