COVID-19: Couple marries by proxy in Benue

Gboko, the traditional seat of Tiv nation in Benue State, on Saturday, witnessed a wedding tagged, “wedding by proxy” as a result of the restriction of movement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigerian Tribune reliably gathered that the traditional wedding held on Saturday, May 9, 2020, between former Miss Jane Mwuese Jegu of Ipav, Gboko local area and Timothy Aondohemba Tim of Ikyurav-Tiev in Katsina-Ala Local Government both of Benue State.

The wedding by proxy held at Tse Andrew Jegu, Kilometre 5, Gboko-Mkar Road, Ipav, Gboko Local Government Area without the groom, Timothy Tim at the traditional wedding.

The groom’s 62-year-old uncle, Mr Thomas Terver Tim stood in for him with the couple’s engagement photo attached to symbolise the groom’s presence.

One of the attendees who is a friend to the groom, Jiji Jack told Nigerian Tribune that the groom who is based in Lagos could not attend due to the interstate lockdown.

It was gathered that the two lovebirds, Jane and Timothy who had been in a courtship for over seven years had fixed May 9, 2020 for their traditional wedding.

“Notification and invitation cards were circulated early in January this year. All the arrangements were put in place for the wedding only for the COVID-19 lockdown directives to thwart the whole program following the interstate border closure by Federal Government.

“This made it difficult for the groom, a marine engineer who resides and works in Lagos to move from his station to Benue for the wedding which had been scheduled to take place in Gboko,” the friend, Jiji Jack said.

It was reliably gathered that the couple had contacted the Benson Abounu’s led State Action Committee on COVID-19 to see how the groom who had been in Lagos could come over and formally take his wife but were told that if he comes, he would be isolated for 14 days before he can be allowed to participate in his own wedding because Lagos is one of the epicentres of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

On his part, the groom who spoke through phone call said, “As a marine engineer, the condition Benue State Government gave was impossible for me because my office cannot grant me leave for that long.”

According to Jack, the bride after payment of the bride price was quoted to have said, “When it became impossible for my husband to beat the COVID-19 lockdown directives from Lagos to Benue State, we resolved that instead of incurring the expenses of reorganising and rescheduling the wedding program, let’s do it by proxy and there is no problem about this.

“As you can see, I’m in my happiest moment now because today is my day. In fact, both parents of my husband are happily doing the needful and my husband is also actively involved in the wedding ceremony even though he is not physically here.”

Head of the Jegu family (the bride’s family), Elder Iorkighir Jegu was said to have expressed joy that he was able to give out his daughter’s hand in marriage despite all odds.

“We don’t have issue about the absence of our son-in-law especially as the groom’s father is standing in for his son.

“After all, by Tiv culture, the groom’s father is the real husband and the couple’s counsellor. The groom only performs the bed activities.

“It would interest you to know that our son-in-law is calling in every five minutes to ensure that things go well. So, they have my blessings and God will bless their new home.”

The  groom’s representative who doubled as the groom’s father said, “I am happy to marry for my son today and the issue of whether he is here physically or not shouldn’t be people’s headache. As far as I am concerned, the two families have no problem and we’re happy that all the marriage rites were performed according to Tiv tradition.”



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