Author Topic: BRIDE PRICE in Benin custom  (Read 735 times)

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BRIDE PRICE in Benin custom
« on: October 16, 2018, 12:42:48 PM »
The current BRIDE PRICE in Benin custom is 12 (Twelve pounds sterling)not N24 (Twenty Four Naira) as many are  made to believe.

HE BRIDE PRICE VALUE AND GIFT PACKAGE
Answer to Questionnaires and open enquiries made, reveal that in the early period of Edo (Benin) history when modern monetary value became attached to the BRIDE UCE (IGHO-UHUMWUN) i.e. in the early 20th  Century, the amount fixed as bride price was UGIAMWEN (less than 1 pound sterling) The global depression that followed the First World War (1914-1918) brought about a revision of the Bride Price to 5 (five pounds sterling) IKPON-ISEN as the pound, under colonial rule was legal tender in NIGERIA The second World War (1939-1945) brought about further global depression and consequent depreciation of the affected world currencies including the pound sterling and this led to revising the Bride Price upwards to 12 (twelve pounds) IKPONIWEVA which has remained as current.
There have been spirited debates recently as to what amount is currently equivalent to 12 (Twelve pounds sterling) which was legal tender and in operation which the PRICE was last fixed or revised in the NINETEEN FORTIES The tendency has been to take a simplistic approach to regard N24 (Twenty Four Naira), now a pittance, as the equivalent of 12 (Twelve pounds) on the basis of N2 to 1 which formed the original conversion when the Naira replaced the pound sterling on  1st January 1973 as legal tender in Nigeria. This has become rather ridiculous and tends to make a laughing stock of the idea or value of a BRIDE PRICE. ‘Those who generally find this convenient do not appear to reckon of with the initial concept of the Bride price and the purchasing over parity of the pound at the time it was fixed, first as UGIAMWEN, later at 5 (five pounds) and much later revised upward to 12 (twelve pounds) If the country had not experienced the unprecedented hyperinflation that had now rendered the Naira currency  almost useless, the simplistic conversion might have been tolerated or acceptable but not the ridiculous pattern it has tended to assume for sometime.
As it were, the concept of fixing the BRIDE PRICE in Benin custom is not to make a commodity of one’s daughter at marriage and thus, virtually sell her into it, but to make the prospective husband or family make a stake in the In-law’s family and which (sum) is refundable if the marriage breaks down. This confirms the customary assertion Airhie omo ohe”“you do not marry a bride free-of charge”.The husband must feel the PINCH financially. On the side of the girl’s parents, the Bride Price when it was fixed at 5 (five pounds) or 12 (twelve pounds sterling) made good sense and the amount in hard currency as it was. Then could substantially build a mud house, or purchase other valuable commodities. . Also 5 or later 12 (twelve pounds sterling) was good salary per month for a senior clerk or a senior teacher even up to the fifties and 5 could purchase a “RALEIGH” (push) bicycle for an office messenger or road overseer, in Government service, and for the rural dweller provide comfortable transportation. The local cost of a “Raleigh” or other brand of bicycle today is above N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira), should currently be .chargeable price for the bride which will represent the initial idea of a moderate financial stake and affordable by ah strata within the Benin kingdom. however having regard to the relative stability of the, pound sterling which was the last known .Bride Price fixed by the traditional authorities of Benin Kingdom in the forties and promulgated by His Majesty the Oba, and having regard to its availability and convertibility in the exchange market, the twelve pounds sterling or equivalent in the exchange market could remain and be demanded as the Bride Price in customary marriages in Benin Kingdom. After al! certain cultures in Nigeria like the Ibos demanded much higher Bride Price contemporaneously than 12 twelve pounds) some 200 (two hundred pounds) plus other goods and chattels to accompany the bride to her new home. For such culture there is rationalization no doubt, but this is not to say that the BENIN people (IVBI-EDO) should take such a high stake but the idea of twenty-four naira bride price is a travesty of the system in Benin custom. This is OHE (free of charge) which negates the custom.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 12:47:01 PM by Administrator »