A community in River State, where young girls are sold in exchange for food items or debt settlement have been exposed.
Channels TV reported that ‘Money Marriage’ is an age-long tradition of the Becheve tribe of Obanliku in Cross River State, as almost all family in the community are involved in it.
The girls are reportedly called ‘Money Woman’ or ‘Money Wife’ and are sometimes sold out even before they were born.
The Money Marriage culture does not in any way favor the money woman or wife. The moment a man shows interest in a girl, her immediate family and other relatives are free to visit the man and collect things from him.
“Anything offered them during their visit is given monetary value and recorded by their in-law (the man who is marrying the girl). If the mother is the greedy type, she’ll often visit her ‘in-law’ to get stuff,” Channels TV reported.
Where the man has made full payment, the girl is given out in marriage.
Aji Patience, a girl whose sister was sold at four years old said, she was given out for N2, 000.
Unfortunately, when the husband dies, his next-of-kin marries the girl and if she dies without giving birth to children, her parents are mandated to bring a replacement.
Victoria Tabang is a victim of this. After the death of her husband, she was expected to remain with his people.
“Even when I went to my people, they drove me away, saying I now belong elsewhere,” she told Channels TV.
Money women or wives are sold for as low as N10,000, few goats and pigs, tubers of yam, depending on the man’s bargain power. They are also not allowed to be educated.
“Money that the man give in my head (sic) was not much. It was N20,000 and one goat,” a money wife said.
Once a girl is sold out for Money Marriage, she is considered dead by her immediate family and warned never to return irrespective of how she is treated by her husband or his relatives.