Following a Twitterspace to discuss the ‘money woman’ culture practised in the Becheve community of Cross River State, a socio-cultural group in the community, Becheve Youth Elite’s Association or BYEA has committed to working with willing partners towards ending the harmful culture in their community.
The commitment was a turnaround from BYEA’s earlier stance, where they called a reportdocumenting the practice in their community an “attack on the good culture of the Becheve people.”
Speaking, Elam Joshua, BYEA’s Public Relations Officer, said all stakeholders, including “the Police, Ministry of Women Affairs, and other organizations, should come in.”
Elam explained that “I have never denied that the culture never existed in Becheve, I am only saying that we too as a people have since the 90s made efforts to abolish the obsolete culture, now we want to enforce arrest; we should work together to ensure that practices like these are eradicated, relevant organizations should swing into action, and anybody caught in this act should be dealt with in accordance with the relevant laws.”
Also speaking, James Ibor, a legal practitioner, said there is no need for the culture as it is a violation of the girl’s rights and a criminal offence.
“There is no need for this culture today, and it has been criminalized. The reasons for the design of this culture are not relevant as there is no justification for such a practice. The only one the people will have today is the fact that it has been their long-standing culture, which is not a valid justification for the abuse of human rights in the 21st century,” Ibor said.
Ibor said the culture is a violation of the Child Rights Act and the Violence Against Persons’ Prohibition or VAPP, he said that the law protects a child under the age of 18 and does not permit them to be contracted for marriage as it is a criminal offence.
Iyeni Uno Ogban, the Desk Officer, Gender-Based Violence at the Cross River Ministry of Women Affairs in Cross River state, opined that the practice of Money marriage is bad and frowned upon by the state government.
Ogban added that the Ministry, in liaison with several other organizations, have been carryout sensitization on the issues but that there is a need for a community-borne approach.
On his part, Jeremiah Archibong, an investigative journalist who reported the story, said there is a need for the community to follow through with their commitment, as the victims of the practice live with the daily consequence of it.