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10 ethnic groups with the cheapest bride price in Nigeria

10 ethnic groups with the cheapest bride price in Nigeria. Recently, Nigeria has been getting a lot of attention to how high the bride-price is in some states. This has spurred a lot of debate on social media and some Nigerian ladies have come out to complain that men are not willing to marry them as a result of the exorbitant bride price and items required from them by the bride’s family.

However, a marriage is not considered complete in Nigeria until a certain amount of money and some symbolic items have been collected from the groom as a form of payment to his in-laws for taking care of his bride from childhood.

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A man who does not perform these rites is seen as a thief and a woman whose bride-price was not paid before she moves into a man’s house is believed to be cheap. Some cultures believe such a woman will lose respect from her husband and his family as time goes on.

When bride-price is paid on a woman, it symbolizes the transfer of rights from the bride’s family to the groom. It is not supposed to be payment for the bride but a form of material pledge and compensation for taking her away from her biological family.

When marital issues come up and the only way forward is divorce, the bride-price and other items collected are often returned to symbolize dissolution of the marriage.

See: Yoruba Traditional Marriage Rites, Bride Price List and traditional marriage list

Some Communities Uses Bride-Price as a Sorce  Exploitation 

However, the tradition of paying bride-price before a woman can move into her husband’s house is getting exploited by some families and even communities. Some charge according to the level of education of the bride so a woman who schooled abroad and probably has a postgraduate degree will attract payment far higher than an illiterate or a secondary school certificate holder. Some cultures even go as far as asking the groom to feed the entire community for about three days.

A certain community even demands for payment for the ‘bride’s mouth’. Some ethnic groups estimate the bride-price according to the financial prowess of the groom, such ethnic group is the Bororo, they demand between 10-50 live cows as bride-price.

The Effects of High Bride Price in Nigeria

A particular brides list that sparked debate recently required the groom to pay N1 million as bride-price, a car for the bride’s father, clothes and bags for bride’s mother, new phones for her sibling and other ridiculous items. People believe that marrying from the southern part of Nigeria is expensive and even sees this as the reason why some women from here marry late as a result of the difficulty in getting a groom to pay these exorbitant prices.

Some of them go as far as paying their bride-price themselves just to get married. There has been some reported cases of brides committing suicide because their suitors could not afford the bride-price required.

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Some men who struggle to pay this exorbitant bride-price tend to maltreat their wives as a result of this. They interpret the process as ‘buying’ the woman and thus treat her like an item or slave. Although this is not always the case, but paying exorbitant prices has been seen to psychological and sometimes physical abuse on the woman in some cases. Although paying bride-price is seen as a way of validating a marriage and to show that the bride’s family gave their consent to the union, it should not be an avenue of exploitation and meeting the family’s needs.

What is the most expensive bride price in Nigeria?

Some tribes whose bride-price is considered to be on the high side in Nigeria include:

  • The Kalabari in Rivers state: their bride-price and cost of items required might go as high as N1million naira in some cases.
  • Ibibio in Akwa-Ibom state: their demands can run as high as N700,000. They believe they’ve raised their daughters to be resilient and strong so the man is getting a fair deal by marrying from there.
  • Mbaise in Imo state: a woman is seen as an asset to a man here so payment should be made to acquire her. Bride-price run as high as N100,000 and can go higher depending on the level of education of the bride.
  • Efik in Cross-River state: bride-price here is demanded in Euros and also estimated based on the financial condition of the groom.
  • Ikwerre in Rivers state: marrying from this part is considered to be an expensive affair as bride-price and other items required can cost up to N1 million.

See Also: Yoruba Traditional Marriage Rites, Bride Price List and traditional marriage list

Ethnic groups with the cheapest bride price in Nigeria

These tribes and some others not mentioned are considered exploitive in their demands. However, there are certain ethnic groups who do not demand a lot from the groom’s family, some even returns the bride-price and sponsors the wedding. These ethnic groups include:

  • The Yorubas: in southwestern parts of Nigeria, wedding affair is seen as a joint effort by both families. The bride-price demanded here ranges between N5000 to N However, when this is paid, the bride’s father returns it to the groom as a means of supporting the new family.
  • Esan tribe in Edo state: this tribe is considered as one of the cheapest to marry from in Nigeria. Their bride-price is about N20 although other necessary items are collected.
  • Hausa Muslims: due to the religious orientation of this tribe ‘Sadaki’ which is the bride-price is as low as possible because they believe lower amount of bride-price commands more blessings in the union.
  • Fulani tribe: this tribe is also considered lenient in their demands when a bride comes from there.
  • Delta state: some parts of Delta state demand as low as N12 as bride-price.
  • Tiv tribe: a law passes in this tribe states that all marriage expenses including bride-price and other expenses must not exceed N100,000. This is cheaper when compared to southern parts whose costs run as high as N1 million.
  • Benin speaking tribes: when marrying from these parts, the bride-price is demanded is N24 only and other parts.
  • Kagoro tribe in Kaduna state: bride-price is not compulsory here unless the parents demand it from the groom.
  • Onitsha in Anambra state: bride-price here is considered one of the lowest in the southern part of Nigeria. An amount of N40 only is demanded.
  • Itsekiri tribe in Delta state: marrying from this tribe is not expensive. A groom is only required to pay N120 as bride price.

See Also: Traditional Marriage Rites Among The Fulani People of Nigeria

Although bride-price is important in validating marriage in Nigeria, it should not be an avaenue of exploitation and meeting personal needs by the bride’s family.


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Bukola Shokan

Bukola Shokan is a content developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria team comprises Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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