All traditional marriage rites in Idomaland have been fixed at a maximum of N50,000 by the Idoma Area Traditional Council (IATC) of Benue State, led by the paramount ruler, Och’Idoma, His Majesty Elaigwu Odogbo.
The Council also ordered the immediate reversal of the practice of returning the corpse of an Idoma daughter from her husband’s home to her paternal home, for burial, directing that such practice would only be allowed in the case of multiple marriages.
The council, in its far-reaching sweeping changes, announced at the end of its meeting in Otukpo, the traditional headquarters of the Idoma-speaking tribe of Benue State, also barred expensive burial rites in Idomaland.
Part of the resolutions of the Council read: “The Idoma Area Traditional Council after wide consultation with rulers, political leaders, and most importantly our God-given subjects have concluded that some self-imposed, barbaric, and harsh cultural practices be expunged from the practice of our culture and tradition.
“Our deliberations arrived at the following conclusions for the immediate adherence of all true Idoma people clans, tongues, and people under the Idoma Area Traditional Council.
“The Traditional Bride Price in Idoma land is hereby unified and fixed at N50,000 only. All forms of stringent conditions, stipulations, and expectations associated with traditional marriage are hereby removed and prohibited.
“The imposition of costly prescriptions, stipulations, and requirements on the bereaved family for the burial rites of a deceased person is hereby prohibited in Idoma land. Burial rites should be conducted within affordable means of the family and as much as possible, concluded within two to three weeks from the date of death.
“The practice whereby relatives deny and deprive the children and wives of the deceased of their right to inheritance of the deceased’s property is hereby abolished. For the avoidance of doubt, where the deceased is survived by wife or wives and children, such children and wife or wives shall have the right of first consideration, in the apportioning of the inheritance, in the absence of a Written Will.
“A deceased’s wife shall be buried in her husband’s place, except in special circumstances where the wife during her lifetime, was married to and had children for more than one man; in which case, the wife may be buried in her father’s place to allow other husbands and children to partake in the burial rites.
“The indiscriminate burial of corpses within and around the community, especially in residential areas is prohibited, forthwith. Every community is mandatorily required to, within a period not later than 31st December 2024, earmark and designate a place in each village or hamlet, as a Burial Ground, to bury corpses.
“Where for any special reasons, a person has to be buried within or around the compound, the permit of the Traditional Ruler must first be sought and obtained and such burial spot or grave must be marked and secured.”