Returning bride price to groom’s family during customary marriage invalidates such union -Lawyer

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A Family Law specialist, Mrs. Dorcas Aderemi, has advised against the practice of returning bride price to the family of the groom during the process of a customary marriage.


Aderemi told the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview in Lagos on Thursday that such an act would only tend to invalidate marriages so contracted.

In compliance with the Marriage Act, the groom’s family is expected to pay a bride price to the family of the bride before sealing the marriage.

The payment of such can be made up of money, gift or a mixture of both.

The practice of returning the bride price by the bride’s family, usually on the grounds that their daughter is not for sale, is, however, common in the western part of the country.

According to the legal practitioner, customary marriage is a type of marriage that is provided for in the Marriage Act in Nigeria.

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“The cogent procedure or process for establishing a customary marriage is the payment of the bride price. So, when that bride price is returned, it invalidates that event.

“The bride price is important and is covered for in the law. It is also scriptural in religion.

“When the bride price is paid, the group of society that returns the bride price, especially the Yoruba, should stop it.

“This is because it invalidates the process of customary marriage,” she warned.

NAN reports that customary marriage, which is also known as traditional marriage, is a ceremony conducted in accordance with the customs of the families of the bride and groom.

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