The NGO argues that the principle of 'money woman' by the Becheve people is repugnant to the principle of natural justice, equity, and good conscience.
The Becheve people of Obanliku Local Government Area, Cross River State have an age-long PROUD practice called, ‘money woman’, where a girl’s parents exchange their daughter for money — as a collateral for a loan, property and even food.
Sometimes, these girls also get married to the person, to whom they are collaterals. In that case, they call it, ‘Money Woman Marriage’.
These girls are subjected to supposedly outlawed and archaic principles of forced marriage, forced labour, slavery, and indentured servitude.
It is repugnant to the principles of natural rights, natural justice, equity, good conscience and natural human prerogative to choose.
After all, we live in a country that entrenches the Fundamental Human Rights of her people under the 1999 Constitution and safeguarded by the procedural rules of Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules.
By that time, she becomes a ‘money wife’. To compound issues, if the husband to a ‘money woman’ dies, she gets married to the husband’s next of kin.
If the ‘money wife’ dies without an issue, her parents are obligated to provide another girl to her widowed husband as renewed collateral.
The Obanliku Local Government Area also has 17 sister villages and they all engage in this primitive, oppressive and barbaric practice. Reports allege that there is almost no family in the Becheve tribe without a ‘money woman.’
Upon recognition of this, a non-governmental organization, Cadrell Advocacy Centre, has by an Originating Summons filed a suit against the Cross River State Government in a Lagos Federal High Court to abolish the ‘money woman/wife’ practice, and declare it unlawful, and repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
The Attorney-General of Cross River, Obanliku Local Government and Inspector General of Police were joined as co-defendants in the matter while Mr. Evan Ufeli, Founder of Cadrell Advocacy Centre, is a co-plaintiff in the matter.
Amongst the prayers is an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the Cross River State Local Government and the Obanliku Local Government Area from engaging in the practice in the future.
Cadrell Advocacy Centre also prays the court that the first and second defendants return all the girls used as ‘money woman’ returned to their parents.
The defendants are yet to respond.