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Marriage For Convenience

She is 14 years of age. Not married, is still in secondary school, and has no mother. She lives in the village with her father who is a farmer and her siblings.
Ngozi got an unwanted pregnancy. Rejected by every member of the family, she withdrew from public view into hiding. Every night, the father would woke her up to mount pressure on her to reveal the owner of the pregnancy she was carrying. If she stayed mute over the issue, she was beaten up mercilessly. ‘Who is ready to take care of you and the pregnancy? everyone was asking.
When she could no longer bear the beatings, she opened up and revealed a riffraff in the village as the man responsible for the pregnancy. The loverboy disappeared from attending social functions when he noticed that people were talking about the pregnancy. ‘’She is an idiot and too short for my liking. I only went in once and she said she is pregnant!’’, the boy told his friends who were aware of their relationship and the pregnancy.
Bitter with anger, Ngozi’s relatives headed to the boy’s parents to complain and force the boy to marry her. When the two families interrogated the boy on the matter,  Ngozi only cried all through. The game she played in the dark has become a talk of the town.
Whenever Ngozi’s eye met that of the loverboy, a kind of bitter hatred burned in her heart. She felt like closing her eyes and dying outright. She no longer saw the boy the same way she used to see him before she ate the forbidden fruit. The scale has fallen off her eyes and she now suffers it alone.
Of course, the loverboy refused to marry her despite every threat by Ngozi’s family on him to accept to marry her. After every effort to force the boy to marry her failed, Ngozi left with her relatives in sorrow.
Every day, her tummy increased in size. She had no maternity gowns to cover up her enlarged tummy. All her dresses no longer fit her and so, she used only wrappers as her only dress.
The father made life so unbearable for her. ‘’get out of that room, harlot, and engage yourself in something useful. Look at yourself, you have eaten the forbidden fruit, how does it taste? Shame, shame on you!!’’, were her father’s usual but scathing remarks.
Ngozi felt like committing suicide, at least to be free from the nagging father and people’s gossip. One day, a suitor came. He was a middle aged man  who was badly deformed by convulsion in his youth. Of course, Ngozi seeing how saliva was dropping from the man’s mouth, refused outright. Everybody was against her refusal. ‘’you cannot bear this child in this house. You must get married to anybody willing to marry you”. By this time the pregnancy has entered the 7th month.
At last, a woman in her 60s and a widow whose husband was executed through jungle justice by angry youths for raping to death a girl of 7 years came to marry her. Ngozi was pushed to accept the woman, at least to save her from giving birth to a bastard.
Woman marrying woman! Actually, Ngozi is not the only one in this case. There are many in the villages who face similar problem. Call it culture or what you like, the practice is real.
Look at how it is done. As soon as a young  girl gets unwanted pregnancy in her maiden home, any woman suitor who is interested makes enquiries to verify if the owner of the pregnancy has interest. If the girl is jilted, this woman-suitor takes a man from her side and proceeds to the girls’ family to request for her hand in marriage.
If the woman suspects that the poor girl will reject her, she presents a younger boy on her behalf who would accept the “I do palm wine’’ from the girl. Asked why she needed a wife, she would quickly explain that she married her for her only son who is probably too young to marry a wife or that she needed a son to procreate the family lineage. This is peculiar in places where the culture attaches much importance to children and wealth.
In the past, the Igbo man knew nothing about child adoption or DNA test. They view child adoption as a taboo. So, instead of adoption, they marry for convenience. Surprisingly, some people in our midst today are products of marriages for convenience. A woman marrying woman and begetting children for her!
The wife calls the woman that marries her ‘’mama’’ while the children call the woman that marries their mother ‘’mama nnukwu’’ or “grandma”, and the real mother they call, “mama” or “mummy” or even “auntie”, for some.
The law makes adequate provision for child adoption and gives every right to adopted children. World over, adopted children are recognized and are given all the legitimacy they deserved. This means that a woman who is childless can adopt a child if she desires one.
We are in a modern society, some cultures that are not relevant and obsolete should be discarded. Our generations is facing a lot of health problems. HIV/AIDS pandemic is ravaging the entire world, killing the young and old, men and women irrespective of status. A young woman married by a woman will have every reason to move around or flirt in search of a man to impregnate her. If she contracts HIV, she spreads it easily to her chains of lover and her baby if not detected and taken care of medically.
Her flirting behaviour does not disturb the woman that marries her as she does not have a say over such flirting behaviour. After all, can she impregnate her?
Baffled by the continued existence of this culture in modern days, Sylvia Ngige Media Communication went to town to investigate the subject matter: Marriage for Convenience. It was discovered that a woman due to childlessness or lack of a male child can marry under such culture. In some cases she presents her old husband who is incapable of impregnating a woman as the suitor, while in the real sense, the woman is marrying for herself.
No parents would want a woman to marry the daughter. But, when a condition that warrants them giving their daughter’s hand in marriage to a woman arrives, the parents wish secretly that the girl comes back after giving birth.
Sylvia Ngige Media Communication gathered that the woman-suitor having this in mind would lavish the girl with love and care and would never raise an eyebrow when the girl flirts with men. This, it was discovered would make her not to leave after giving birth, and before you know it, she is pregnant again and again.
The investigation revealed that these women felt that the gain is more in marrying a woman of their own than adopting a child its parents are unknown. It was discovered that the bride price for these girls that got pregnant in their father’s house are drastically reduced due to their situation.
It was also discovered that some of these women-suitors and their relatives believe they could not meet up with the necessary protocols required for child adoption.
The investigation also revealed that these girls married by women are not educated and could not help themselves financially and economically.
Some of the men responsible for the pregnancy abused them and as soon as they discover that pregnancy is involved, they change their base.
It is mostly wrong for a girl to have sex before marriage. It is also wrong for her to get unwanted pregnancy when she is supposed to be in school. But, in a situation where a girl gets unwanted pregnancy, let her not be killed because of that or be kept in a situation where her life, that of the unborn baby and people around will be in danger. We should do everything possible to discourage premarital sex.
Researchers advocate sex education as a way of curbing this problem. Where every effort fails and the girl gets unwanted pregnancy, let us consider her life and her future. It is wrong, very wrong to throw her away like garbage into the garbage bin not minding what happens to her afterwards.
She should be allowed to bear the child safely and then, helped to further her education. After all, she is not the worst offender. I wonder what one benefits if the sister or daughter is going through hell in her marital home.

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