Scores of child rights advocacy groups in Bayelsa state have kicked against the boxing day traditional marriage between a four year old girl and a 54 year old man at Akeddei community in Sagbama local government area of the state.
The child rights advocacy groups including the DISE OGBISE FOUNDATION, described the marriage as illegal, criminal and child marriage which is against the constitution and the Child Rights Act.
It was gathered that the illegal marriage between the Four years old girl and the 54 years old man identified as Elder Akpos was at the instance of the girl’s parents claiming that the 54 year old man was her husband in their previous life.
According to Community sources, the girl claimed that the man was her husband who died mysteriously in their previous life, and that over the years, she has been moving from place to place, to be birthed under different parents, searching for her former husband.
The source said ” the little bride said if she was not allowed to marry her husband, she would have no other business in Akeddei community, and that she was going to die peacefully and go her way.”
“In order to avoid losing the girl to death, the people of Akeddei decided to organize a glamorous wedding ceremony to mark the union of the two previous life lovers.”
One of the Child Rights Advocacy groups, the DISE OGBISE FOUNDATION Bayelsa State Chapter, in a statement signed by its chairperson Elvis Mannie esq confirmed the development, insisting that the foundation has launched an investigation into the incident wirh the hope of saving the child.
According to Barr. Elvis Mannie, in his official statement stated that “the Foundation described the said child marriage as horrendous and despicable, and also a criminal act, capable of retarding the giant strides made by the government and people of Bayelsa State in the area of protection of child rights.”
He noted that the Child’s Right Law was domesticated in 2016 and is still in force in Bayelsa State,”This law criminalizes child marriages and child betrothals on pain of imprisonment and heavy fines.”
The Foundation called on the Government of Bayelsa State, the Bayelsa Srate Gender Response Initiative Team and the assembly members in the Sagbama constituency, including the security agencies to launch a thorough investigation into this unfortunate incident, with a view to the protection of the child from sexual exploitation, and the arrest and prosecution of all persons6 found culpable in this despicable event”.