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Importance Of Full Marriage Rites Under Benin Native Law And Custom

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20/09/2017

Generally among the citizens, full marriage rites must be performed, otherwise it will affect the fortunes of such children’s inheritance of their father’s title or estate. To further illustrate, there is a difference in customary recognition between male children born into properly contracted marriage and whose mother properly settled down:(KEWU) and male children born outside wedlock, of the settled home or from concubine, A lot of contention do occur in Benin Customary law particularly when the eldest of a man is not a product of proper marriage in accordance with custom and tradition, where such a male child lays claim to legitimacy and succession. Even where marriage ceremonies may be abridged curtailed or skipped the payment of Bride Price is a SINE QUA NON in validating a marriage among the Bini people. Reference has already been made to OGIUGO V. OGJUGO (1999) 73LRCN3681 where the older candidate contesting the stool of the Ogiugo (Duke) of Ugo N’Iyeke-Ikpoba lost the contest because he was born out of customary wedlock as attested by the mother not settling down, acquiring her tripod “IKEWU” and cooking for her husband and the household.

In Saka Lawal Osula V. Lydia Lawal Osula (1993) 2 NWLR (pt 274) Pg. 159, it is noteworthy that the following issues relating to customary marriage in Bini were canvassed and settled:-

(¡) ON WHAT CONSTITUTES MARRIAGE UNDER NATIVE IAW AND CUSTOM
Living with a man and having children for him alone does not necessarily make a woman the wife of the man under native law and custom. In the same way, a woman who is the wife of a man under native law and custom does not divorce the man merely by leaving him and staying with another and having children for that other man

(¡¡) ON NULLIFYING ANOTHER MARRIAGE UNDER THE MARRIAGE ACT;
A High degree of certainty of the marriage under native law and custom is required where it is  intended to use the marriage to nullify another marriage underscores the need for every essential step to be to ensure validity of marriage contracted under native law and custom.

(¡¡¡) ON WHEN THE ELDEST AND SURVIVING SON OF DECEASED MAY SUCCEED TO THE DECEASED’S ESTATE UNDER BENIN CUSTOMARY LAW:
Under Benin Customary Law of succession, the eldest surviving son of a deceased cannot inherit the IGIOGBE i.e. the house in which the deceased lived and died and other property until after he had performed the second or final burial of his deceased’s father.

(¡V) ON APPLICATION OF REPUGNANCY DOCTRINE TO CUSTOMARY LAW OF SUCCESSION:
A native law and custom to the effect that the eldest son ‘succeed,, to all the property of the deceased father to the exclusion of other children in not repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience (see :S0 Ogiamien Y. Ogiamien 1967 NMLR245 and Agidigbi V Agidigbi (1992) 2NWLR(pt 221)98.

(V) Payment and acceptance of Bride Price implies family consent, which is an integral part of customary law requirement for a valid traditional marriage. Conversely, if the family members are not present to receive the Bride Price it indicates lack of family consent to the marriage, and customary law, such a marriage is not valid.

FORCED MARRIED OR LACK OF CONSENT
Contrary to erroneous and widespread belief that African Customary Marriage accommodates forced Marriage, or Marriage of juveniles, Benin Customary Law and Practice does not support Marriage without family Consent or the consent of the bride. While the (notional or symbolic) betrothal may take place at an early age or at infancy, the Custom of Benin people provides that the Marriage ceremonies should take place with the full consent and participation of the families has well As the  bride and bridegroom who must proclaim their consent publicly before their parents and the audience without compulsion see Osadiaye Osamwonyi  .V. Itohan Osawonyi (1973) INMLR 25 The supreme court held that: The Lower Court was right in holding the evidence before it that under Bini Native Law and Custom, a daughter Could not be married off to a man by her parents without her consent.

As earlier indicated, Marriage according Benin customary law takes place when both parties attain liberty and their consent is freely obtainable..

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