The UK pandemic of Husband-selling wives in the ethnic minority communities


The Buwas struck us with the humility of their beginnings, the oneness of their operation, the singleness of their purpose and the utter commitment to trust and partnership. They did acknowledge that these ingredients have been the mainstay of their unity, strength in marriage, success, and longetivity and joys.

Drawing lessons from these, the trend of discussion generally drifted into the realm of marital relationships; its core values according to Christianity and culture and the wind of change bastardising the institution of marriage and destroying families among the ethnic minorities and particularly the African community in the UK.

Unfortunately, it was recognised that the same institutions which should protect the marriage system have also become those exploiting the institution in a ‘survival’ rat race that would readily and stealthily decapacitate partnership qualities in marriage; using the appeal of the instruments of the English law to reposition themselves as weak that they may be empowered socio-economically against the husband who they once swore to love and cherish ‘till death do us part.

We gave in to the fact that their success did not just rest with the educational and community services they rendered but also that the greatest success was the beauty of their marital relationship.Follow us on the discussion below:

African Voice… What would you say about the role your marital life played in your success story as an advice to couples in London?

Mr Buwa: I think when you are both focused on the same goals and you share the same things then you are not likely to have doubts about what the other is doing because there would always be proof even without question and communication will always be strong. But when we came to London, what I am seeing and what I am hearing about a woman and a man is terrible. I hear this is because of having ‘paper’, once a woman struggles to have a paper or stay, because of getting accommodation, the husband becomes nothing; I begin to have fears about the kind of life our people are living because of material things. I am shocked about all these as I learn that it is not applicable to one, not two, but all over the place.


African Voice: What would you have to say to married couples, particularly husbands who are here concerning marriage?

Mr Buwa: My advice to men and particularly husbands is to put God before in marriage. Once the blessing is there and you recognise it, you hold it tight. If I give my story, it may seem unbelievable but God is are of it. But we work in different places and financially, how we spend money is not from different pockets. That is why I said may be working towards one goal. I’ll tell you something: we have a bank where, after getting married eating together, spending together, we put whatever is left It is my only jacket: my first coat, whether from her work place or mine into. That bank is my jacket pocket. The day I receive my salary, it is that coat that will let her know. Once the money is there she takes what she wants and one kobo I will not remove. When her salary comes as well, it goes straight into the same pocket. That was how we started even till when I was made a senior manger in Volkswagen. Even when we were being paid through the bank. What I am saying is that we were not hiding our finances from one another. That openness started right from the day I knew her and it is still there till today. As we are in London, if we are going for shopping, all the money is with her. We may agree on what to buy or how much of it and she pays and we are used to it. If I need to go out and need cash, I simply ask her for the cash I need. She is one of the two signatories to our account but she doesn’t sign the cheques. This is because we are not in competition and also the fact that most of what we use cheques for fall within my area of work in our establishment. Yet no one doubts what the other is doing. So if some of us can still do the same – exhibit trust, I doubt if there will be breakage in marriage. It is not a matter of using all the meoney to build a house in your village and then ask what of mine just as it is not a matter of saying that we visit your mother today and therefore what of mine? We taker each other’s families as ours. Her (madam’s) father stayed with us and before he departed the world entrusted all her siblings to me. And I didn’t have to shack that responsibility because we take each other’s family as one. These are what I think I can tell my married friends: openness, pursue the goal(s) and by the grace of God, they will achieve it. Once there is deceit, problems will come and the foundation is broken. And then and up till today my wife is the one who will give whatever we have to give(in an envelope) to my younger ones

Mrs. Buwa: I think the first thing is to marry for love. After love, respect and honour your husband. You see Sarah loves Abraham to the extent that she refers to him as ‘my Lord’. All through Genesis, Sarah reverenced Abraham as her ‘Lord’. For myself and my husband, I don’t look at him as my husband. He is a father to me. We hardly stay without ourselves and we are never bored and we are never tired of ourselves. We won’t go out and leave each other behind. We have that chemistry that is even more than twins. He is a father, a brother, and he’s been there for me as both. Then he is there as friend, an intimate friend. I think that is what marriage should be; to the woman.


African Voice: How do we resolve a situation where competition sets in?

Mrs. Buwa: This is because they went into the marriage for a purpose and not for love. I went into our marriage with all, and nothing. I gave everything. I told you our bank then was his coat. I was working and so he was. He comes and puts his there, I come and put mine there. God blesses it and we never lacked, we never borrowed. We were happy with whatever we had. I started as a junior clerk. My husband didn’t even tell you everything. He trained me. I came to his house with school certificate (ordinary levels). That is why I said he is father not only to his children but also to me. I and my husband can be here for 365b days and just be amusing one another. I asked a woman here about what the bible says: ‘what does it profit you if you have the whole world … now we have comfortable and live well in our own house. But we started out in one room! I married him in one room. And we didn’t have anything then. So you imagine if I have left him then and now money comes to make him comfortable what pleasure would I have sitting here in London alone. What will be the joy in being single even if I can travel all round the world, and have millions, and live in any hotel but be single? There would be no happiness. The only happiness I have after God is my husband. Not even the children. They are all gone. And they have their children who are our grand children. And we find pleasure in supporting them and monitoring them too. So how do you survive without a man? Some women will say after God is their children. My children are who they are today because of the input of their father. If my children are second, who will be here with me now? And so I respect and regard him. This is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue.

Mr. Buwa: One thing I see with the situation here now is that I think you need to educate them. It is worse with the new ones coming. You want to marry and you say you will bring a wife from home. Immediately you marry who is average in Lagos or anywhere and you bring that girl here and you allow her to have interaction with others here, she will be brain-washed. She will be told that women own the country and shouldn’t allow any man to control you. Once you have one child, you will be given a house, you will be given this. I think that’s where things begin to go wrong. Then they reason that they can’t depend on you, the husband any more, and government will pay them this or that. But is that the reason for marriage. It has become the abuse of it. You people should be doing something about this.


African Voice: Well, we are doing all we can and that is also why we are speaking to you to join voice with our endeavors in this campaign.

Mrs. Buwa: Perhaps what you should do is to look for those earlier generations of women who started this trend and have gained wealth and everything they wanted: go into their lives and motivate them to speak and confirm if that life is of any benefit to them. Let them come and speak to the younger ones who need to be corrected. They suffer loneliness later in life and try to live on their children. Another advice I would love to give is to try not to change your partner. Rather try to change yourself to suit your partner. You should try to adjust yourself, especially the wife. That is why you should reverence your husband as he is older and you need to respect him and change yourself as you went into the marriage with a sense of sacrifice for the future. How do you change a man who snores? You don’t leave the room for him and move to the next room but you find a way to adapt to that or accommodate that. Everything you think is not ok, try to enjoy or endure it. Your husband is accommodating you and he is not seeing your fault because of love so why should you see his own fault. It means the love is not there.

Mr. Buwa: You should try to keep on working against this. Do not be discouraged. Perhaps the churches too should be brought into the matter to play a role.

 African Voice: In fact statistics show that the situation is even more serious in churches and the ratio is 50:50 within and outside the church. It is even known that some churches are also instrumental to such situations. While not all churches or their leaders can be accused of these, the women have also been known to become adamant and would not listen according to reports reaching us.

Mrs. Buwa: What you should do is to look for these people who have had these experiences and also make them come forward and speak about these issues through your medium



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