Jungle Marriages In Cross Rivers State Of Nigeria And Environs
Marriages in jungle communities of Cross River State of Nigeria till now are yet to conform to the modern norms and standard of marriages. For example, a seventy year old man is allowed to be joined to a ten year old Marriage Loan Singapore girl in wedlock. The following types of marriages are practiced.
The Becheve Free Woman and Money Woman:
The becheve people have two types of marriages namely the “free woman and money woman”.
THE FREE WOMAN MARRIAGE: Is when a young man approaches a young girl who is already matured, and both of them begin to live together as husband and wife without bride price being paid to the girl’s parents. The marriage may be blessed with children except that they do not belong to the man but the girl’s parents. Again, the children may choose to bear their father’s name but he can not have costody of them nor can the children inherit their father’s properties. According to Becheve custom and tradition, young men are not permitted to marry the women they hope to spend the rest of their lives with, until they are over sixty years and above. Before that age limit, the young men starts saving money until it is enough to marry.
THE MONEY WOMAN MARRIAGE: The Money Woman is Becheve man’s real wife. When a man has gotten enough money ranging from one hundred thousand to three hundred thousand Nigerian currency, only then can he start making plans to marry money woman who is usually an infant of one day old to six years of age. The man engages the girl and visits her family until he has gotten enough money to pay for her full bride price. Each time the man visits her family, he gives them gifts including money. Sometimes goats, pigs, and chickens are presented to the family as a sign of intention to marry their infant child. A date is fixed for the traditional marriage and well wishers are invited to the ceremony. The marriage is being conducted and officiated by the elders and the Chief Priest of “Ekumbo god”.
At the end of the traditional marriage, the bride price is paid to the girl’s father before she is officially handed over to the man as wife. The husband then hands over his wife to his first wife (free woman) to nurture. Most cases, by the time the girl is sexually active, the man would have been eighty years of age and therefore too weak to perform his role as husband. So he permits her to go outside the matrimonial home and to meet other young men that are willing to make love with her. If in the course of the illicit affair, she becomes pregnant and gives birth to children, they automatically belong to her legal husband and therefore have rights to his properties.