HAS Nigeria become the target of old European, American and Asian women in need of toy boys? The question is provoked by the increasing number of online pictures of young Nigerian men being joined in matrimony with older foreign women, some with an age difference as wide as 50 years. If there were doubts that physical attraction could play a role in the choice of a lover, one would need to hear Angela Nwachukwu, a 72- year-old British grandmother speak of her beau, a 27-year-old Nigerian simply identified as CJ. “He was so handsome, with big, brown eyes and a body to match,” she said. Six months after her marriage broke down and she became lonely and isolated, Angela found a friend’s request from Nwachukwu on Facebook, which she accepted. Their conversation progressed rapidly until it culminated in exchange of marital vows.
In spite of their age difference of 50 years and the long distance between them, it was learnt that CJ popped the ‘will you marry me’ question to the British grandmother via Skype. The couple later wedded in Nigeria and had only seen each other twice because Mr. Nwachukwu was denied a tourist visa by the UK immigration authorities on grounds of insufficient financial backing. Mrs Nwachukwu said she had spent more than £20,000 on the wedding and flights as well as litigation to enforce her husband’s right to visit her in the UK. Trending on the social media these days are pictures of Nigerian toy boys proudly displaying their martial accomplishments with European and American ladies.
In May this year, the story of a young Nigerian man estimated to have got married in his 20s made the rounds as she celebrated his sixth wedding anniversary with a much older European woman. Although the age of the woman in question was not stated, the photos estimate of the woman’s age could not be less than 60, based on her physical appearance. The groom, identified simply as Jonny, took to his social media page on May 24 to wish himself and his much older wife, identified as Brenda Skala, a happy sixth wedding anniversary.
“My special day with a special number #6thanniversary,” Jonny wrote on Instragram, with Brenda also responding, “My dream come true love!” Better than slay mamas If you have doubts that older European or American ladies could be better than ‘slay mamas’, ask Muiz Adebiyi, a Nigerian man married to Susan Smith, an older American lady. When Adebiyi celebrated the second marriage anniversary of his union with Ms Smith, not a few Nigerians tongue-lashed him, prompting him to respond to the critics via an interview with a national newspaper and describing them as “haters”. While he would not disclose the age difference between him and his wife, he said he was attracted to her because of her calm nature, which made her a better choice than many ‘slay mamas’.
“We had known each other for two years before we decided to get married three years after,” Adebiyi, a footballer and car dealer gleefully announced. “There were issues, but our family members later understood that age is just a number and that love does not have limit. We are quite in love and happy with ourselves. I never convinced anyone. I got happiness from what I did.” Describing her as the best woman after his mother, Adebiyi refused to answer questions posed to him on the likelihood of the union producing children.
Cole and Michael
This year alone, there have been more than 10 leaked photographs of younger Nigerian men who got married to older foreign women at the Ikoyi Registry in Lagos. A trader at the registry, who pleaded anonymity, said the trend has become rampant in recent times, and some of the marriages, though lacked parental consents, had the consents of family members and friends who often show up in colourful aso ebi (ceremonial uniform). With the way the trend is turning out, can it be safely assumed that inter-racial marital relationships between younger men and older women is usually a sweet sail without consequence? Not quite! Jane Cole, 58, met Michael, a 28-year-old Nigerian bartender in Gambia while she was on holiday in the tiny West Africa country.
It was said that Michael’s charming and attentive nature drew her in immediately. As the relationship blossomed within a short while, Michael made it clear that he wanted something more than just a onenight stand while she was on holiday in the country. Completely sucked in, Jane agreed and he subsequently moved with her to the UK. It was not long after the couple arrived the UK that Jane began to question Michael’s loyalty, especially when he began to disappear for long periods. Her suspicion led her to trace a number that appeared frequently on his phone bill until she reached a woman with whom Michael had maintained a relationship with for six years. “When I confronted Michael, he just admitted it and laughed. I was devastated.
My self-confidence sank to an all-time low. He had drained me of everything, both financially and emotionally.” The union crumbled with one of the parties feeling used and dumped. Commenting on the trend, a professor of Sociology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mabayoje Aluko, told The Nation that the few cases that have trended online are not sufficient to make generalisations that the trend is popular. He said: “If you compare this with the ‘baby mama’ phenomenon, you will discover that one is more widespread. We would hardly count 10 cases, so it is difficult to make generalisations that this kind of marriages are an emerging trend.
“Also, we can’t just jump into conclusion to say it is love or it is not love. If we look at what is happening in Nigeria, especially the problem with the political economy, it is letting unusual behaviour to manifest, so much so that what one would not do ordinarily, people are doing it. Youths are not gainfully employed and people have this impression that unless you relocate elsewhere, you won’t make it. So it is like it could be a desperation factor adopted to survive harsh times,” he said. “Again if you look at it, you’ll notice that in Yoruba culture, for a 30-year-old boy to ask a 50-year-old woman out is unimaginable.
An unnamed couple at the Ikoyi registry, Lagos
These are some of the issues that we can use to generalise, but it has to do with some issues in the political economy and lack of opportunities on the part of the youth who are desperate to make it.” Femi Olutade, a youth counsellor who shared his thought on the issue, said marriage as an institution is built on the atmosphere created by the principal players, adding that a home cannot be built with money alone but with values and beliefs. Relating to whether age plays an important factor in a marriage relationship, he said: “It is not a matter of age. The real question here is what kind of result will these guys be producing which are the children whether biological or adopted? And even if the aim of the marriage is not to produce children, it will produce something in the lives of the players, because the result of marriage is not only seen in the children, it is also seen in the players, which are the parents.
The reason is there’s no phase you go through in life that doesn’t leave a trace in your life.” He believes that the implication of the trend on the society depends on the motive of the youth who engage in such acts. “If the marriage is with clear, noble cause, it will surely have a good result. But if those guys are doing it for ulterior motives, the result will be devastating for the society. “Now, what I am saying it is right to marry someone old enough to be your grandmother? No. My point is this: marriage is an institution, a project. The man who receives the blueprint from God should through the help of God get the right resource for the job. This resource I’m talking about is not an individual; it is an unction created by God, and God can place that unction on any individual.”Behind the mad rush of young Nigerian men for older foreign womenBehind the mad rush of young Nigerian men for older foreign women