Benue: Idoma monarch pegs bride price at N50,000; outlaws expensive funerals

The Idoma Area Traditional Council of Benue State has announced N50,000 as the unified traditional bride price to be paid by a man taking a wife from the tribe.

The paramount ruler of the Idoma nation, the Ochidoma, His Royal Majesty Elaigwu John, who unveiled the decision in his New Year message also declared that there shall be no more expensive burial ceremonies in the Idomaland. 

According to a press release on Wednesday, January 3, 2023,  by the Chief Palace Scribe, Onuminya Odoba, the monarch was out to reform “some self-imposed, barbaric, and harsh cultural practices”  that make life difficult for the people.

The monarch, who is an ex-Deeper Life Pastor, said the reforms were undertaken by the Idoma Area Traditional Council after wide consultations with rulers, political leaders, and their subjects.

“Our deliberations arrived at the following conclusions for the immediate adherence of all true Idoma people, clans, tongues, and people under the Idoma Area Traditional Council,” the monarch declared.

"Imposition of costly prescriptions, stipulations, and requirements on the bereaved family for the burial rites of a deceased person is hereby prohibited in Idomaland.

“Burial rites should be conducted within affordable means of the family and, as much as possible, concluded within two to three weeks from the date of death,”

The council also prohibited “the practice of depriving the children and wife or wives of the deceased from inheriting his property.”

"The practice whereby relatives deny and deprive the children and wife or wives of the deceased of their right to inheritance of the deceased’s property is hereby prohibited.

"For the avoidance of doubt, where the deceased is survived by wife or wives and children, such children and wife or wives shall have the right of first consideration, in the apportioning of the inheritance, in the absence of a written will.”

On the burial of a married woman, the monarch said, “The deceased’s wife shall be buried in her husband’s place, except in special circumstances where the wife, during her lifetime, was married to and had children for more than one man, in which case, the wife may be buried in her father’s place to allow other husbands and children to partake in the burial rites.”

On marriage, the monarch said, “Traditional bride price in Idomaland is hereby unified and fixed at N50,000. All forms of stringent conditions, stipulations, and expectations associated with traditional marriage are hereby removed and prohibited.”

He also barred indiscriminate burial of corpses within and around the community, especially in residential areas, forthwith.

“Every community is mandatorily required to, within a period not later than 31st December 2024, earmark and designate a place in each village or hamlet, as a burial ground, to bury corpses,” the traditional ruler said.

“Where for any special reasons, a person has to be buried within or around the compound, the permit of the traditional ruler must first be sought and obtained and such burial spot or grave must be marked and secured.”

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