The Paramount Ruler of Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, HRH Amos Uyumulam Item has revealed the reason behind the abolition of the traditional practice where female children were given out for marriage because their parents could not redeem their debts, a practice popularly called “money marriage.”
Uyumulam Item made the disclosure after he was decorated with the medal of Male Gender Champion against Gender Based Violence (GBV) by an international organisation known as Spotlight Initiative which has been fighting against the practice of GBV for over 10 years now.
The ceremony, which has the slogan “HeforShe Initiative,” took place at Transcorp Hotel on Tuesday, also witnessed the decoration of the Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade as a Champion Against GBV in the state.
Narrating how he stopped the practice, the traditional ruler said the practice of marrying girls even before their mothers gave birth to them, was antithetical to modern trends, so he called chiefs under him and they kicked against it.
“With the support of the governor, we decided to stop that practice in Becheve community. For those who were already married before 2020, we gave them options that they could continue to stay with their husbands if they were good or they should leave.
“But we have a challenge because some times, the men who had married these women a long time back through money marriage, will ask for all kinds of things – goats cows, all kinds of thing before they can release those women,” he said.
On her part, the Commissioner for Ministry of International Development Cooperation, Inyang Asibong while commending Spotlight Initiative and UN Women for launching the initiative in the state.
Mr. Lansana Wonnah, the UN Women Deputy Country Representative, explained that Spotlight Initiative has had partnership with European Union and United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030