Amongst the diverse tribes of Nigeria, the Becheve tribe accounts for one of those with the most bizzare traditions.
On the high expanses of Obanliku Local Government Area in Cross River State, just beyond the well-known Obudu hills and not far from the renowned Obudu Mountain Resort, one would discover the Becheve village tucked away in the typically chilly haze of these areas.
The Becheve tribe are a group of roughly 100,000 people who live in Benue State and the Republic of Cameroon and speak 17 different varieties of the same language.
Obalinku is sandwiched between these two countries.
Borders and dialects notwithstanding, the Becheve tribe people are united by a dark culture that has now thrust them into an uncomfortable spotlight.
It is a society that accepts the exploitation of girls and women to pay off debts or obtain favours in what has come to be known as “money wives.”
Women, young girls, or even unborn children might be these money wives.
How money wives are transacted
They are actually more like slave wives than anything else.
According to the Becheve tribe custom, a father whose wife is expecting a child and is having financial difficulties may decide to take out a loan, which he would repay by giving his daughter in marriage to the loan shark.
Such agreements are made even before the child’s s3x is known.
The father could demand food or cash from the moneylender once the agreement is signed.
The lender would keep track of the amount owing to him, frequently changing presents given to the girl’s parents into money and including those amounts in the debt.
Even the mother of the girl is allowed to visit the lender’s home to accept gifts of cash or other stuff.
Society condemns the Becheve tribe custom
The loan is ultimately written off as the bride price.
The girl is given up to the lender as his bride, to be used whatever he sees fit.
Since the girl is essentially being held as a slave, she will have no rights and her opinion won’t ever be sought.
These ladies are employed on farms that they maintain for their husbands.
Since the spouse is not required to look after her, she is left to fend for herself.
He might engage her as a farmhand, have intercourse with her, or give her to his relatives.
The men of Becheve value this custom as a status symbol since it elevates them in the eyes of their comrades.
So it comes as no surprise that many of them will stop at nothing to find wealthy women.
The men’s desires are being jeopardised by recent outside scrutiny of the practise.
The men are not pleased with the media attention their neighbourhood is receiving since it could endanger their long-standing custom.
Finger amputation ritual of the Dani Tribe
Meanwhile, the loss of a loved one can be traumatising and result in emotional anguish as well as physical as in the finger amputation ritual of the Dani tribe.
Some cultures consider this outward manifestation of emotional suffering to be crucial to the grieving process.
If she loses a child or member of her family, a woman will cut off the top of her finger.