Episode6 of Igbo Traditions Exorbitant Bride Price

Most Igbo communities are known for charging exorbitant prices before one could marry their daughters. It is not a baseless stereotype like most jokes are wont to be, it is a fact. The responsibilities heaped on prospective husbands in the form of bride price and lists are astronomical.

Factors that affect how outrageous a lady's bride price will be:

1. In some places, the bride price itself ranges from 40 to 100 thousand and above depending on how accomplished the lady in question is. The bride price for an O' level holder is different from that from that of a university graduate and that of a graduate is different from that of doctorate holder.

2. Also age is factored in. The older lady and the cheaper price. A prospective husband of a woman in her late 30s or early 40s does not necessarily have to fulfil all the requirements. Some 'discount' is accorded to the inlaws and the length of time required for iju ase and iku aka reduced.

3. Also her 'purity' is considered. In the olden days, that was a given. Young nu** bile v!rgi*ns were more expensive to marry than divorced or widowed 'second hand' women. Now, in place of vir*g!nity, number of children before wedlock is considered. A woman is considered 'pure enough' if she had no child before wedlock. This means that a woman without children before wedlock is more expensive to marry than one with children.

4. All disabilities will as well put into consideration. Women with disabilities are married at 'give away' prices. At some places, the prospective husband pays almost nothing. This is because it is thought that he is doing the lady and her family a huge favour by agreeing to marry an albino, a single mother, an elderly lady or a physically challenged woman. He is saving her from being 'nna ga anu'.

If you think this is synonymous with the way animals are bought, you are right. During the proceedings, the price is haggled the same way you would haggle with the Alhaji who sells goats. The family of the lady talks about her educational qualifications and how much her parents spent on her, while the family of the man reminds them that the lady is already pre*gn@nt so they are taking her off their hands.

Now if it were only the bride price itself, it would not really be such a huge problem. #LIST. There is a list for everyone. For the mother of the bride, the father, the umunna, the umuada, the women married into the village, the women born into the village, her fellow young girls, her age grade, and some other groups of people. Monetary gifts, edible treats, different exotic pieces of clothing are required.

Reasons for exorbitant bride price:

1. Bride price has always been in existence, but the exorbitant, outrageous prices seen today was said to be as a result of men taking loans from richer men and using their beautiful daughters as collateral. When they reneged on the payment, the men came for their daughters and they became even. With time it became a norm and a means to get rich quick. If you had 3 beautiful daughters you were guaranteed to be rich no matter how lazy you were. More families keyed into this method and it became a way of life. Ihe ojo gba afo, ogho omenaala.

2. In modern times, it would be remiss to say it is fueled by greed. It is more of a thing of pride. A rich family that has no need for the outrageous money and gifts would still demand for it. Apart from the fact that it is a tradition, it is a thing of pride to know that your daughter's worth was not reduced because of her irresponsible ways or a disability.

3. It is also a way of getting rid of poor inlaws. There is a very popular Igbo song that when loosely translated means, "a poor man cannot eat Owerri soup". So also is it when it comes to Owerri women and most women from Igbo communities. A poor man and most times, an average man cannot comfortably afford their bride price and lists.


Wrappers&Blouses–(George/Hollandis/Nigerian Wax) Jewelry – earings, necklaces) Shoes, bags and wrist watche Toiletries creams, soaps, washing detergents, tissue etc.)
Beverages and food items – Ogwe ego Drinks (Malt, & Mineral) 3 liquid Peak milk


The items in this category will be shared amongst the heads of the extended family of the bride to be.
Mkpara ndi ichie (walking stick for the father or the eldest male uncle)

Other cash gifts that may be demanded during the course of the ceremony
“Ego nfotu ite” (cash to bring down symbolic cooking pot) – ₦3000
“Ncha kishi udu” (Toasting of wine) – ₦ 3,000
“Ego Ogo cherem” (money for the inlaws) – ₦ 50,000
“Ego nwanyi omugwo” (money for future maternity) – ₦ 10,000
“Ego Onye Eze” (money for village chief) – ₦ 5000
“Ogwe Ego” (lump sum) – ₦ 5,000

This has nothing to do with the the items for the traditional marriage and in the case of a divorce, only the bride price itself is refunded and not these items up there. This is one of the reasons some simpletons treat their wives poorly. They believe they paid dearly for her and as such that makes the women their property. More pictures of lists are added.



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