The culture of bride price is as old as the Nigerian people. What is bride price? Bride price is simply materials or cash offered to a prospective bride’s family by the prospective groom for marriage considerations. This often includes money, goods or even property provided by the groom or members of his family to the bride’s family.
Often times, a list is provided by the Bride’s family and which the groom can negotiate depending on his financial capability. Bride price is an ancient practice that many argue should be abolished since it makes it look like the woman is being bought. Others argue that it is a beautiful practice and which is a core identity of the Nigerian people.
How expensive is bride price in Nigeria?
The cost of bride price in Nigeria range from the dowry requested for by bride’s family and community, to the traditional items requested to be presented before the wedding ceremonies can take place.
Getting married in some parts of Nigeria can tempt a young men into robbing a bank, especially if he doesn’t have a good job or a viable source of income. Hence many men tend to get married late because they want to make all the money they can before they attempt fulfilling any marriage rites.
Here are some of the most Expensive Bride Price in Nigeria:
#1 The Mbaise People of Imo State
The Mbaise people are found in Imo state part of Nigeria and they occupy three local government areas in Imo State (Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihitte Mbaise). The major cities of Mbaise people are Ezi na ihite, Ahiara. Agbaaja, Oke Uvuru. The Mbaise people are known for their quest for higher education, hence the large numbers of graduates and professionals amongst them. The Mbaise culture is amongst the most expensive cultures to marry from in Nigeria because of the numerous components that make up their traditional marriage list. As a matter of fact, the more educated the bride is, the more expensive the marriage list becomes. For you to marry in Mbaise and be applauded, you have to spend N350, 000 up wards. Some families are considerate and will not ask for everything. They may tell the groom to settle the kindred, because if he has to do everything, he might need up to N500, 000.
#2 The Annang People of Akwa Ibom State
The Annang people are found in Akwa Ibom state and they are the second largest ethnic group in Akwa Ibom state. Any groom who intends taking a bride from the Annang people must be ready to meet fulfill the traditional marriage rites of the people and it is indeed expensive because of the loads of stuff and fees that the groom is expected to buy and pay for. Personally, I have read the marriage list and it is almost 4 pages long. The cost could be about 500,000 to 700,000 Naira.
#3 Ikwerre People of Rivers State
The Ikwerre people of Rivers State also have very expensive marriage rites, and this is largely because they believe their daughters have been raised with pains and dedication and any man that would have them must pay suitably for them. The dowry and items listed for marriage ceremonies may cost up to N1 million before a family concert to a man marrying their daughter.
#4 Ibibio People of Akwa-Ibom State
The people of the Ibibio ethnic tribe of Akwa-Ibom State are predominantly agriculturalists, and their daughters are raised to be strong and self-sustaining. Marrying from this tribe can be very expensive because their daughters are believed to have been groomed to support a man and help him raise a family. A man should be ready to spend upwards of N700,000 before a marriage date is fixed among the Ibibios. The bride price is sometimes, non-negotiable. I in fact happened to witness a traditional wedding of one of my uncle getting married to an Ibibio lady, just because he didn’t buy all what was stated in the list, the wedding was cancelled. It was an embarrassing experience.
#5 Ngwo People of Enugu State
A man who wants to marry from the Ngwo people of Enugu State must demonstrate that he is able to fully take care of his wife by meeting the exorbitant ceremonies required for the wedding to take place. The man is given a long list of items to buy or provide for the family of the bride and for the wedding before he is allowed to marry their daughter.
#6 Bororos of Northern Nigeria
The Bororos of northern Nigeria look identical to the Fulanis in several aspects and they have several similar cultures. It is believed both the Bororos and the Fulanis require several live cows that could even constitute a herd before releasing their daughters for marriage. They may request for between 10 to 50 live cows, depending on the ability and wealth of the suitor, before a wedding ceremony can take place. With the dollar rate as 2016, I leave you to do the maths.
#7 Ijebus of Ogun State
A man is not tasked so much at attempting to marry an Ijebu lady from Ogun State, but the wedding ceremony can be as expansive as feeding and entertaining a whole community. The dowry or bride-price requested of the suitor and the wedding items listed to be provided may be within reasonable range, but the Ijebus are known to be jolly-hearted and wouldn’t miss any social opportunity for a lavish party or cultural event where food and entertainment take center-stage.
#8 Nkpa People of Abia State
The Nkpa people of Abia State occupy Bende local government area of the state, and they value marriage so much that an outsider from the tribe or community will pay through his nose to obtain a wife from amongst them. It is believed that marriage between an Nkpa man to an Nkpa lady is cheap and affordable, but highly expensive and prohibitive if the man is from another tribe or state.
#9 The Ogoja People of Cross Rivers State
In Cross River State, there is a local government called Ogoja Local Government. The top communities in Ogoja are Ekpogrinya, Nwang, Esham, Nnang, Egbong, Ewinimba and Banasara. Getting married to an Ogoja lady is expensive due to what is being demanded from the intending groom but, it is customary for the bride’s father to return the bride price to the new son-in-law during the traditional marriage ceremony because they believe that their daughters cannot be bought.
#10 The Efik People of Cross Rivers State
When it comes to rich culture, the Efik people are endowed. Their marriage rites is always an event to look out for. The marriage list generated depends on the families involved, and especially, if the groom’s family is influential. The bride price is decided in Euro, this is due to the high colonial influence on them.
Some cultures demand that a groom pay between N500,000 to N3 million as dowry on a bride before the wedding takes place, and some demand that up to 50 cows be provided as dowry for the bride before she is released as a wife to her suitor. So many have condemned the expensiveness of marrying in Nigeria, but its a practice that has been there for ages.
After all, Jacob in the Bible served his father-in-law for 7 years before he could marry his first wife, and another 7 years to be able to marry his second wife. So, if you love her, then consider the required bride price a small sacrifice to be paid since she is willing to spend the rest of her life with you. I’m just saying!