Nigeria’s “Medical Mail Brides”: Part 2

Nigeria’s “Medical Mail Brides”: Part 2

Not all medical professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists etc.) married from Nigeria into diaspora (especially the USA and UK) are “medical mail brides”. Female medical professionals are human and just like other professional and non-professional women; someone will desire them, court them and marry them where the possibility arises. The problem raised in the previous article (see is the “intention”, yes the intention, of men marrying female medical professionals from Nigeria or coercing them into becoming one after she arrives. If it is not loving, could it be pimping?

Before this matter is taken any further it should be emphasised that there are a whole lot of men who have married female medical professionals into diaspora but not as medical mail brides. Some men who have married medical professionals into diaspora had dated them in numerous previous circumstances in Nigeria i.e. as [secondary / university] classmates/schoolmates, fellow choristers, neighbours, family friends etc. long before diaspora came into the equation.

Conversely, most medical mail brides meet their future husbands only days, weeks or months before their marriage takes place. Then there are men with the ‘diaspora status’ who can choose suitable brides from a sizeable pool of women they have previously known or dated but will ‘pick’ only the ones that are medically trained.

Pimps are men who control, hawk and live off the earnings of prostitutes. Men who control, send to work and live off the earnings of wives in legitimate professions are not much different. The only difference is that while pimps can go to jail for living off immoral earnings the husbands of medical mail brides do not. The control and exploitation tactics are usually the same, the main one being “indebtedness” to the man for bringing the woman overseas. The indebtedness blackmail only effectively lasts at best a few years.

The brides are often brought over to work for their men who live, partly or wholly, off their incomes. If the men see that the women may not play ball as a cash cow in the long-term, they make sure that before she can get her papers to remain indefinitely in diaspora on her terms they are ‘deceived’ a second time back to Nigeria and the man will return overseas unannounced with her papers rendering the women unable to return to the diaspora. Is that not intended economic slavery and sheer cruelty?

Many of the men who marry medical mail brides are not adequate to do so without the ‘leverage’ of migration to the diaspora. Except in very rare cases, the men cannot marry a, say, a doctor, pharmacist or physiotherapist qualified in the USA or UK for lack of ‘aggregate status’. These same men cannot marry such medical professional in Nigeria if they were resident there for the same reason. We must not forget that Nigeria is not a society where a female chartered accountant marries a bus driver though a rich illiterate male trader can marry a female PhD holder.

With the “carrot” of “I am established overseas”, they can suddenly marry women far beyond their normal means or aggregate status. It is only a matter of time before women realise this and take steps to get out of it. Murder might be foretold as a result. Some men make sure the medical mail bride they have married is pregnant with their child in Nigeria before they bring her “over”. In such cases, the chances of instant escape after arrival in the diaspora are very limited if not non-existent.

No one thinks about the mental trauma women in such situations go through. The duration of deception, exploitation and abuse of, especially an educated woman is never indefinite. With the economic power of a female medical professional, she has all it takes to fight back eventually. But the fightback does not rid her of the dreadful experience she has encountered. Some of such women will often exhibit the symptoms of her trauma in subsequent relationships or her general social interactions.

There are also the medical professional mishaps. The lady fails to pass her qualifying medical professional exams or drops or out of her degree / Masters program in nursing. Some who do qualify due to her lax work ethics gets dismissed from work or even struck off the professional register. The man then has a problem on his hands; he cries “bad luck!” or “witchcraft!”. The bride he married to be his cash cow suddenly becomes a financial burden. Most women catch hell from their husbands for being in such a situation.

The innocence of medical mail brides is not assumed in this piece. There are good and bad female medical professionals. But the question arises, should a female medical professional be murdered in cold blood because she is difficult to live with, disobedient, unfaithful or wayward. When one marries such a woman the best approach is to move on and perhaps find someone better and more suitable to personal circumstances. But when a man has “invested so much” on the bride to earn him a good return, the loss of that fortune is a like a political loss to many politicians in Nigeria; “na assassination them dey take end am.

Caveat Emptor! Caveat Venditor!

Grimot Nane

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