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9 Nov 2016
High bride price causes delay in marriage
Some FCT residents have attributed the delay in marriage among men to high bride price demanded by some cultures as part of marriage rites.
Bride price is a payment in the form of money or property made by the groom to the bride or her family
It could also be a gift or payment to the parents or guardian of the female on account of marriage or intended marriage, depending on the customary practice of the persons involved.
Some Abuja residents said the demand for high bride price had contributed to ending some marriage engagements and left many mature ladies unmarried.
Mr Sunday Ifeanyi, a businessman in Garki market, Abuja, said there was no uniformity of bride price as every culture had its own peculiar requirements for a couple to enter into marriage.
Ifeanyi, who said there was no agreed age for marriage, added that every mature male and female would aspire to get married and start a family.
He explained that “there are some cultures that do not require bride price; the lady is given out in marriage to strengthen relationships or for business contract between both families.
“But there are some, like my people in Igbo land that men have to spend a lot of money for proposal, bride price and then the traditional ceremony and perhaps the Christian solemnisation if you like.’’
He said the expenses incurred for marriage delayed marriage proposal, especially for low income men.
“You will see a mature man or woman still single, not because they do not want to get married but because of the finances involved and other traditional marriage rites.
“One doesn’t have to spend years saving up for marriage alone when there are other things to think and plan for such as building a house, starting a business, education, and others,’’ he said.
According to him, some families charge as much as N100,000 and above as bride price which many men cannot afford.
Similarly, Mr Donatus Ugwu, a civil servant living in Abuja, said the demand for high bride price as practiced in some cultures discouraged young men from getting married.
“This is the reason why some men even go ahead to have children outside wedlock.’’
Ugwu, therefore, stressed the need for traditional leaders of every society to caution the people on appropriate demands for marriage rites to enable low income earners to get married, as well as to discourage fornication among marriageable men and women.
“When some rules and high bride price are regulated, it would go a long way to encourage marriage and reduce immoral acts,’’ he said.
Mr Olu Adegoke, a civil servant also living in Abuja, said marriage should be an avenue for both families to start a relationship that would last forever, not an avenue for making money through unnecessary demands.
“Marriage should be an avenue for both families to start relationship that will last forever, rather than an opportunity to make money because no matter the dowry or bride price paid, it can never pay the amount spent on bringing up the proposed wife.
“So, rather than making it difficult for men and women to get married, such culture should be looked into for affordable demands.’’
Mrs Joy Ekpeyong, a business woman, said high bride price demanded by some cultures had ended many relationships between engaged couples.
She said “I was engaged to a man but some outrageous demands by my extended family as part of the marriage rite caused a lot of problems for my ex-fiancé and his people and he decided not to go ahead with the marriage.’’
On her part, Mrs Naomi Danjuma, a stylist, stressed the need for every culture to be concerned about inculcating good moral acts, upholding the cultural values of its people, as well as encourage inter-marriages between people of diverse cultures, rather than enforcing stringent laws and customs.
She said “even though some of these marriage rites are very important and some people even face consequences for not fulfilling the rites, such rites should be regulated.