Can You Marry Your Cousin in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, cousin marriage is a practice that is frowned upon by the public, religious bodies, and some cultures as it is seen as an act that goes against normal marriage practices and religious beliefs. Even though this practice isn’t widely accepted in Nigeria, it is practiced in Nigeria by some Nigerian tribes. Of the Nigerian tribes, the Ibo people are the ones that are strongly against cousin marriage to a maximum level.

If you wish to marry your cousin in Nigeria, it is legal and not prohibited by law. The Nigerian constitution does not have any law that hinders cousin marriage, so it can be interpreted that cousin marriage is legal in Nigeria.

Can you marry your cousin in Nigeria?

Yes, legally, you can marry your cousin in Nigeria, as it is not listed among the prohibited forms of relationships in the Nigerian constitution. Some tribes in Nigeria also support cousin marriage, while some do not. Also, few religions in Nigeria support cousin marriage.

More on cousin marriage in Nigeria

Researchers have made it known that in sub-Saharan Africa, Cousin Marriage is accepted at a relatively medium rate, and Nigeria is one of the Countries contributing a large figure to this data.

Cousin marriage is not listed among the prohibited degree of relationship under the Nigerian constitution, and this shows that the Nigerian government does not prohibit or stop any from practicing cousin marriage; therefore, you can marry your cousin in Nigeria although your religion or ethnicity might be against it, so it is left for you to handle and settle with your family personally. You can find the list of the prohibited degree of relationship as written by the Nigerian Ministry of Interior on this website; 

Two of the three major tribes in Nigeria, which are the Hausa and the Yoruba, support cousin marriage but the Ibo tribe, which have a Catholic history and Christian history, rejects and does not support the practice.

Suppose you wish to marry your cousin in Nigeria. In that case, it is advisable to have a lawyer back your decision because many people do not even know that cousin marriage is legal in Nigeria. It is then proper to have a lawyer to help you defend your decision under the law in case anyone tries prosecuting you or opposing your decision to marry your cousin.

Is there any benefit in marrying my cousin?

Certain benefits come with cousin marriage. Benefits may differ in various tribes, but these few mentioned benefits are very popular. Some examples of the few benefits are keeping family wealth within the family, strengthening family ties, and settling disputes. These two reasons listed previously are two strong reasons that encourage some tribes to practice cousin marriage.

Is cousin marriage dangerous?

Some scientists have tried explaining that cousin marriage can lead to abnormalities in offspring and that it is risky for cousins to marry. Many scientists have debated this issue, and it has been said that the risk of the offspring having abnormalities is minimal.

Does Christianity support cousin marriage?

Christianity doesn’t support the idea of cousin marriage, meaning Christians are not allowed to practice cousin marriage.

Is there cousin marriage in the Bible?

In the Bible, there are a lot of cousin marriages. For example, Abraham’s son Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin. The Bible didn’t talk about cousin marriages directly, but the Bible spoke about relatives not seeing each other’s nakedness in the book of Leviticus, chapter 18.

What is the percentage of cousin marriage in Nigeria?

It has been stated by researchers from the UK that the percentage of cousin marriages in Nigeria should be more than 50%, and it was also stated that the Fulani tribe is the most significant contributor to the percentage.

Will I pay the bride price if I marry my cousin?

You still must pay a bride price if you wish to marry a female cousin.

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