It breaks our heart, to know that in a village in Cross River state, Nigeria, young girls are sold in exchange for food items or debt settlement.

Channels TV reported that ‘Money Marriage’ is an age-long tradition of the Becheve tribe of Obanliku in Cross River State, as almost all families in the community are involved in it. The girls are often  referred to as  ‘Money Woman’ or ‘Money Wife’ and are sometimes sold out even before they were born.

The money marriage tradition does not in any way favour the girl-child. It was reported that the moment a man shows interest in any girl-child, 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 a lot of things  – Channels TV

In an event where the man 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, who has been given out in money marriage recounted her experience that after the death of her husband, it was expected of her to remain with her husband’s people.

Even when I went to my people, they drove me away, saying I now belong elsewhere.

Money women or wives are sold for as low as N10,000, few goats, pigs and tubers of yam, depending on the man’s bargain power.

They are also not allowed to be educated. Once a girl-child is given out in money marriage, she is considered dead by her immediate family members and warned never to return irrespective of how she is being treated by her husband or his relatives.



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