Nigeria's "Medical Mail Brides":

Nigeria’s “Medical Mail Brides”

Nigeria’s “Medical Mail Brides”: Can the Men Handle Them?

It has become increasingly apparent that the most desirable women in the eyes of Nigerian men in diaspora from Nigeria to join them in matrimony are medical professionals. Female doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers etc. that have already qualified in Nigeria are incredibly well-valued as migratory wives by men in the diaspora. Women who can and do qualify as medical professionals after they arrive in diaspora either as single or married women are also very well-valued by suitors and husbands, respectively. The reason is almost exclusively economic, but there is a price for marrying a woman who is sure to earn more than her husband shortly. What is it?

In the USA, it is becoming expected news that a Nigerian man has just murdered his wife, mostly a medical bride. Many Nigerian men can face up to the reality of their wives earning much more they do but not to the reality of the power, independence and dominance it confers upon wives. What a strange paradox? The result is often terminal violence in the USA but in Europe murder under such circumstances is a rarity even though the domestic problems can be terrible. Successful men are not the ones who murder their wives in these cases. The cost of medical mail brides is not usually easy to manage in the long run for many.


The diaspora is not exactly a bed of roses for Nigerians even those who are born and have lived there all their lives. Discrimination plays a major role in the lives and careers of Nigerians living outside. Economic struggles and underemployment will be experienced by Nigerians living in the diaspora especially when they just arrive. In most cases, Nigerian doctors, chartered engineers, chartered accountants, qualified teachers, barristers would find themselves working as kitchen porters, security guards and cleaners till they pass their foreign professional exams and somehow manage to acquire usually ‘elusive’ professional ‘work experience’.

Marrying a woman with a good, reliable and secure income is a way out for many, a very good way out. A man who does not earn enough to afford a mortgage for a house or rent a flat on his own can do so with a “hardworking” wife who earns well. The medical profession is not only the best-paying profession on average for Nigerians in the diaspora; it is also the most secure. The future may tell another story.

There is also an element of prestige to being married to a wife who is a medical doctor. It is not surprising that a man who has two children each from his failed marriages to two medical brides from Nigeria boasts that the mothers of his kids are ‘medical doctors’! Economic reasons are certainly not the only ones that motivate men to marry medical brides.
What tends to happen when the female medical professional gets her papers to stay in the diaspora, passes her exams or ‘adaptation’ and starts working, the dynamic of the relationship invariably changes. If the man is financially successful and continues to earn much more or just as much money as his wife she gains reasonable independence in the relationship. Successful men in the diaspora are not known to have a preference for marrying medical brides due to certain social reasons. However, if the man is struggling financially or earns considerably less than the wife there is no surprise when she becomes completely independent of her man or tries to call the shots.

The allure of relocating overseas is irresistible enough but many women in such situations develop deep-seated resentment over time about being brought to diaspora on false pretexts of the man’s ‘good life’ overseas and being persuaded to marry an obvious “inferior” career-wise and sometimes otherwise in many senses. Well, in hindsight mode. The resentment and greater economic power would produce actions and reactions on the part of the wife that will displease the man; rendering the very social stature of his manhood is threatened existentially can be dangerous.

Some men, only a few, would admit that their venture to marry a medical bride from Nigeria or make their bride already in diaspora into a medical professional was at best the product of narrow short-term thinking. Most other men would blame everyone else but themselves or cry witchcraft from home. “Ingratitude”, “being used”, “when things were better”, “never trust a woman” becomes the common themes of their inner expressions.

The emotional trauma and despair of the wives’ dominance and financial power can be psychologically shattering to many men. Alcohol, drugs and other forms of escape that are easily resorted to often worsens their situations further. The insecurity of such men is always evident in their thoughts and actions. Before we grant these men sympathy we may ask, did they not know their narrowly selfish and highly ambitious intentions would end this way?

He who seeks ambitions and lifestyles that by far exceed his best capabilities and resources will meet with monumental collapse. This is a law of nature, a law of life; those who ignore or violate it will fall to the lowest levels of human comprehension as a consequence though not always overtly. Why would a man kill the mother of his three children because he could no longer control her or because she no longer had much regard for him?

It must be noted that the medical bride fiasco is sometimes sheer bad luck on the part of the man. You can find the case of a man who at age 32 had just gotten his Masters in environmental science from Imperial College, London, has a bright future ahead of him and works in a local authority. He marries his medical bride from Nigeria with sincere intentions of love but within three years he is made redundant and his career takes a nosedive.

The moral of this piece is to think long-term before getting married, against a palette of realism or practicality.

Grimot Nane

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