Bride price is an important aspect of marriage tradion in African(Nigeria). But how relevant is it in the light of today’s world?
Nigeria’s diversity has created rooms for different types of marriage, but one thing that has remained constant is the payment of bride price. It has become an essential part of a valid customary marriage in the country. Bride price is usually the payment, in monetary form, to the parents or guardians of a female partner made by the groom on account of marriage. Bride price varies from one culture to another, while there is no fixed amount on how much can be paid.
In the eastern part of the country, dowry is as essential as the marriage itself. the issue of bride price in Nigeria can never be overemphasized. In Igbo culture, the bride price is meant to prove that prospective husband can take good care of his family.”But the high bride price levied on intending grooms there is callous. “Women are free gift from God. He never demanded anything from us when He created us. The practice has led to promiscuous behaviours in youths of today. If you ask me, I think the bride price is beginning to loose its worth.
The high price of dowry is discouraging most youngsters from partaking in marriages these days, and the attendant consequence is the anti-social behaviour we are witnessing today, such as prostitution,abuse,baby mama drama, prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, rape, and so on.”
In the North, the issue is not as worrisome likewise in the West.
From the biblical point of view, dowry is very important. People who married in the Bible gave dowry to the parents of their wives. Like Isaac, when Abraham sent his servant to go and find a wife for him, he gave a lot of materials to the servant to be given to the parents of the wife-to-be. The material was delivered by Eleazar to the parents of Rebecca.“So, it is very important that the dowry is given by the husband to the parent of the bride.”
From the societal point of view,poverty and civilisation had been responsible for marriage crashes in Africa, and more importantly in Nigeria. Parents, instead of laying emphasis on the symbolic aspect of dowry, “see the female as a way of enhancing their financial status. Because they want their females to marry someone who will be able to meet their financial demands, they push them into the wrong hands.”
Is Dowry still relevant to Marriage?