By George Odok
Calabar, Sept. 17, 2020 Becheve community in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River has abolished the “money woman” practice in the area to put an end to gender based violence and infringement on the rights of the girl-child.
Becheve is a community where unborn and young girls are been exchanged as a need to repay debts or settlement for monetary favours.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tradition has lived with the people since their existence in the community.
In a news conference on Thursday in Calabar, Paramount Ruler of Obanliku, Uchua Amos Item, said the practice was now abolished because they have become archaic.
According to him, the practice was harmful to the girl child, adding that the girl child deserves equal fundamental rights like the male child.
He said that the culture that was practiced before, gave the person who inherits a girl child as a repayment for his debt the absolute right to do whatever he want with the girl.
Item said if children comes out of such a relationship, the person who inherited the girl as repayment also owned the children.
“Money woman is an archaic culture that was practiced in Becheve community where a young girl is being exchanged for monetary favours or used to settle debts.
“The victim had no right of her own because the traditional laws stipulated so. This act used to potent danger because the innocent child doesn’t know what she is going into.
“Another bad thing is that the girl has no right to education. As a civilised generation, we have gone back to repeal that culture and we have agreed traditionally to put an end to the money woman practice,” he said.
He stated that anyone who tries to re-introduce the practice would be sanctioned accordingly.
Item called on the Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, European Union and the United Nations to come to their aid to help them sustain the abolishment.
Earlier, Mr Monday Osasah, the Executive Director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, facilitator of the Spotlight Initiative, said the centre recorded tremendous success in facilitating for an end to the practice.
Osasah explained that the Spotlight Initiative was a joint European Union and United Nations initiative aims to support Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices.
He said that the initiative focuses on interventions that are truly transformative, with specific target populations that are furthest behind with dedicated strategies.
Osasah said that the pronouncement made by the Paramount Ruler has changed the extant customs and traditions in Obanliku to allow women in the area to have equal right to inheritance like properties.
He said that women could equally be awarded chieftaincy titles and be active members of the traditional councils of chiefs.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said it was a thing of joy to see that the age-long practice has been put to an end.
Tallen, who was represented by Mrs Victoria Lar, Head of Women Rights in the Ministry, gave assurance that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to help the girl-child achieve her goals.
Commissioner for Women Affairs in Cross River, Mrs Rita Ayim, called on women in the state to always report any case of violence against them to the ministry for prompt actions.