“Arrangee Marriage” the practice of arranged marriages is a serious problem in our society today. The tradition of forced marriages is widespread in Nigeria, usually parents selling their children into wedlock.
Children especially girls are forced into these marriages. If the girl is against the union, she could be kidnapped while out running errands, usually with her parents consent. Once the man (usually older) forcibly rapes the girl, she is left with few choices but to accept her fate and remain with him.
The new face of forced arranged marriages is the new wave of churches popping up in Nigeria today including the Christian Pentecostal Church. They marry based on the arrangement set for them by their religious leaders. The church tests for virginity, pregnancy, sickle cell traits and AIDS/HIV. The virginity and pregnancy tests are conducted on the bride for reasons best known to the church, a double standard and abuse of the women.
There is nothing wrong in principle with testing for sickle cell and AIDS/HIV as a way of promoting family health, but virginity and pregnancy tests in the church? These brides are brainwashed by a bunch of self-righteous so-called “men of god” who abuse them in the name of Christianity. And then you have the grooms who are delusional about their faith.
There was a case at a Redeemed Church (RCCG) in Lagos a few months back where a thirty year old woman was tested, not only was she not a virgin she was also pregnant. Her fiancé worked at the church and knew the church is strongly against premarital sex. Unfortunately the congregations follow the ideals of these lustful men in search of salvation from God.
There was this couple (Janet & Yinka) in their early twenties who were members of my old church. They had known each other since their teens everyone in the church knew them as a couple. One day my adopted brother told me what he was working on, a scheme to convince Janet that Yinka is not the best person to marry because marrying in ones age group especially for women is not in their best interest.
I knew Pastor Ade’s area of expertise was in match making but that was a step too far. I don’t know how he did it but he succeeded in convincing Janet that college was a waste of time and that marrying a man that was 40 years older was the best option for her life.
The groom is a twice-married widower senior pastor who lost both wives to illnesses. He has four grown children, one of them older than Janet
How is Janet doing after over a decade of “Arrangee Marriage”, now in her mid thirties with five children, and a husband who is older than her father? She did not come home for several years after the marriage to avoid awkward conversations.
We have moved on as a country from many traditional practices that we see as imposing or outdated for modern times however, many of the practices in the Pentecostal churches today is far worse than what we moved away from.
Folakemi Odoaje for Juju Films
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