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Girls For Sale: How Obanliku Communities ‘Exchange’ Young Ladies For Money And Food In Cross River



 A view of Obanliku in Cross River State.

The Becheve tribe of Obanliku Cross River State comes under the spotlight for a culture which subjects young girls into modern slavery through a tradition called ‘Money Marriage’.

Obanliku, a local government situated in North region of Cross River is an eight hours drive from Calabar the State Capital.

The Becheve tribe in Obanliku is made up of 17 tribes who practice an age long tradition where young girls are in the exchange of items including food items or debt settlement are given out in “Money Marriage.”

Obanliku is full of thick vegetation and mountainous terrain as high as 1576 meters above sea level. Behind the cloudy terrain are the sad tales of the young girls who are stripped of human dignity. They are called ‘Money Woman’ of ‘Money Wife.’

Richards Akonam, a missionary who has spent over 25 years building a strong advocacy against the Money Marriage culture, told Channels Television that relatives of the ‘Money Woman’ freely visit the couple after the ‘marriage’ and enjoys gifts including money.

“Apart from the ‘main man’ who gives out the girl into ‘Money Marriage’ the relatives of the girl’s mother are free to go and collect stuff from their ‘in-law’. 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 stuff,” he said.

Visitors climbing into Obanliku Community.

This practice is sadly carried out without the consent of the girls. They are sold out to clear debts owed by a family relation or debts owed even before her birth. The ‘Money Wife’ most sadly does not benefit from the ‘Money Marriage.’

“While her parents or relatives share money and other gifts given them by the ‘groom’, she is left alone to struggle and find a means of survival.

“The girl (money girl) can only benefit if anyone who has gone to collect anything shares with her. This hardly happens. She will be responsible for taking care of herself by farming or otherwise. None of her relatives will buy or give her gifts. She now belongs to another and helping her translates to helping her owner,”Akonam said.

Some are the girls are even sold out in marriage before they are born. The GM of Obudu Mountain Resort, David Chris said the girl is eventually given out after the ‘groom’ has made ‘payment.’

“The child is given to a man who pays a certain amount of money. It can be before the child is born. If it is a girl-child, the child is given to the person (groom) after he has made payment that is required by culture,” he said.

Most of the girls could hardly express their story as all they could do was cry when being interviewed. Aji Patience whose sister was sold at a tender age of four expressed disapproval at the tradition.

“My Sister was four years old when they gave her out for money marriage N2, 000 as at then was given to my uncle in exchange for her. I don’t like the condition,” Patience said.

The ‘Money Woman’ practice according to tribes in Becheve is a show of pride as there is almost no family in Becheve that is not without a ‘Money Wife.’

The story, however, gets complicated when the husband dies.

One of the victims of Money Marriage

When the husband dies, his next-of-kin marries the girl and if she dies without giving birth to children, her parents are obligated to bring a replacement as demanded by the customs.

Another victim, Victoria Tabang, who spoke in the local dialect said she has remained helpless since her husband’s death.

“I lived with him since I was young but upon his death, I couldn’t do anything. I’m expected to just remain here. Even when I went to my people, they drove me away, saying I now belong elsewhere,” she said.

‘Money Wives’ are not allowed the right to education and in every sale; the girl’s opinion is not sought. She is the bread winner.

Victims of this marriage are sold for as low as N10,000 few goats and pigs, tubers of yam, depending on the man’s bargain power.

‘Money Wives’ are not allowed the right to education and in every sale, the girl’s opinion is not sought.

“Money that the man give in my head (sic) was not much. It was N20,000 and one goat,” a victim who was willing to speak, sadly revealed.

Once a girl is sold out for Money Marriage, she is considered dead by her immediate family and warned never to return back irrespective of how she is being treated by her husband or his relatives.

The wife of the state governor, Linda Ayade, in an interview with Channels Television, said she is shocked by the practice. He assured that efforts will be geared towards ending the culture.

The Money Marriage culture of the Obanliku is another clear case of human slavery in the 21st century which needs urgent attention of the government and advocacy group to end the miseries of the victims.


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General News

Welcome the next set of MTN Scholars!



360 young Nigerians receive scholarships from MTN Foundation

MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 360 university students at a virtual ceremony on November 12, 2020. The scholarships were awarded under the MTNF scholarship schemes made up of the MTNF Science & Technology Scholarship (STSS) and Scholarship for the Blind Students (SBSS). In attendance were the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, represented by the Technical Assistant, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi; Honourable Minister of Science & Technology represented by the Acting Director-General of the National Space Research and
Development Agency, Dr. Francis Chizea; former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson amongst other notable dignitaries.

Speaking at the ceremony, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi said: “We are here with the MTN Foundation to celebrate scholars that have excelled in school. MTN is also supporting people with disabilities by funding their education and this is very commendable. The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is constantly working towards elevating skills over degrees. We are also committed to ensuring that individuals are empowered with the right tools and skills.”

Also speaking, Honourable Minister of Science &  Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu represented by Dr. Francis Chizea said: “I am glad that MTN, in giving back to the society through its foundation, set up a scholarship scheme to empower the youths and as well, drive science and technology. This is a welcome development and a commendable effort that other organizations need to emulate.”

A major highlight of the ceremony was a fireside chat themed “Insight. Influence. Impact” with thought leaders sharing inspiring insights with the scholars. Nigeria’s former Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson reiterated the role MTN continues to play in the ICT space and its impact on the country. “We need to get a workforce that is very comfortable with technology. We are in a state where we need world-class educational institutions and interventions such as this that will enable students to be very vast in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” Johnson said.

Leading to the ceremony, this year’s graduating students from the scholarship programme were hosted to a career incubation boot camp facilitated by experts from Google, Oracle, Cisco and Jobberman. Facilitators shared insights on various opportunities amongst other vital employability tips.

Speaking on the scholarship award ceremony and workshop for graduands, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said, “Providing access to quality education is the first step to a world of opportunity for the youth of our nation. We know it does not stop there. We need to also ensure that they are adequately prepared for the
workplace. We hope that the fireside chat at the award ceremony will inspire the students to reach for greatness and innovation. Furthermore, it is our belief that the employability workshop held earlier will enrich the career path of the graduating students. The MTNF scholarship scheme is more than just funds; it is a commitment to
build the capacity of our youth. We wish all our graduating scholars success as they set out to take on the world and congratulate all awardees as the next set of young nation builders in the making.”

The newly awarded scholars will each enjoy a scholarship grant worth N200,000 annually till graduation as long as they maintain a CGPA of 3.5 or its equivalent. The scholarship covers tuition, book allowance and stipend. Till date, MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 3,829 students valued at over NGN 2.1Billion.

The MTNF annual scholarships are awarded to high performing students in Nigerian public tertiary institutions.

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Local News

Illegal Abortions Responsible For Mysterious Deaths In Bauchi: State Govt



Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed

Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed

Bauchi State Government has revealed that the mysterious deaths recorded in the State has been as a result of illegal abortions.

An investigation carried out by the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that illegal abortion by unqualified medical practitioners is the cause of mysterious deaths in Azare and other local government areas in the northern part of the state.

According to reports, no fewer than 200 women have died in Bauchi as a result of this and there are projections that the number could be more at the end of the investigation.

The Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, disclosed this Friday, May 29, at an interactive session organized by the Bauchi State Public Health Media Network.

Also Read: We Spend N4,500 Daily On Meals Of Each COVID-19 Patient: Bauchi Govt

Mohammed said the deaths resulted from unwanted and unplanned pregnancies by both married and unmarried women of childbearing ages who, after becoming pregnant, visited quack health workers to terminate the pregnancies.

He said the lack of understanding of the importance of child spacing as well as ignorance of what to do with such pregnancies had become a major problem to family health in the state.

He emphasized the need for adequate sex education for the girl-child by parents, particularly mothers, to reduce unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing deaths from complications.

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Local News

Ondo Govt Arraigns Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin



Funke Olakunrin's killers

Funke Olakunrin’s killers

The Ondo State Government has arraigned four men suspected to have killed Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the National Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

Recall that it was earlier reported that the Nigeria Police Force handed over the suspects to the State Government.

Also Read: BREAKING: Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin Arrested – Police

They are Lawal Mazaje from the Felele area of Kogi State, Adamu Adamu from Jada area of Adamawa State, Mohammed Usman from Illela area of Sokoto State, and Auwal Abubakar from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.

The suspects were arraigned on Friday by the government at a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure.

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