Marriage under Akoko Edo Native Law And Custom

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Last update June 1, 2020

At Okpe girls are betrothed in infancy, the suitor presenting cowries, palm-oil, and firewood to the father. He must then work for the father and make a marriage payment of 10s. (this was in 1910). If the girl refuses to marry him the payment is refunded. If the girl runs away after marriage, however, there is no refund if she goes to her father’s house and only half is refunded if she goes with another man. The body of a woman who has married outside Okpe must be brought back home for burial. It is interesting to note that clitoridectomy, which is practically universal among Edo-speaking peoples, is said not to be practiced at Okpe..

Ososo girls were in his time married at a very early age. Marriage-payment was refunded, with the consent of the “chief ‘‘if the girl disliked her husband, the elders arbitrating to decide the amount, but nothing was repayable if the girl had borne a child. Widows are free to return to their families and the payment for a second marriage is the same as for a first. Ososo girls were said not to marry outside their own town.
Customs in respect of divorce appear to be similar at Somorika and the latter town is said to share with Okpe an unusual method of dealing with adultery. The aggrieved husband must commit adultery, in return, with the wife of the offender or with the latter’s brother’s or father’s wife, and should he die before achieving retribution the obligation to do so descends to his own brother.

At Somorika, for their first marriages, all girls of the same age group are conducted to their husbands, from the house of a priest, at the same time. In contrast with the custom among most Edo-speaking peoples in some of the North-West Edo (and perhaps some of the Etsako) communities the girl is taken to her husband by his own friends, perhaps his age-company, rather than by her own family.

It is reported that among some Akoko Edo communities marriage is permitted between half-siblings with the same father.

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