Condemnation as 54-year-old man marries four-year old girl 


CITIZENS COMPASS —Condemnation has trailed a traditional marriage between a 54-year-old man and a four years old girl in Bayelsa State. 

The man hails from Akeddei community in Sagbama Local Government Area.

The traditional marriage wss held on Boxing Day, Tuesday, December 26, 2023. 

Among those who condemned the marriage was DO Foundation, a child rights advocacy group in Bayelsa State, which expressed its views in a statement on Thursday, December 28, 2023. 

DO Foundation, in the statement signed by Mr Elvis Mannie, Bayelsa State Chairperson of DO Foundation, described the marriage as illegal, criminal and child marriage which is against the constitution and the Child Rights Act.

The foundation said child marriage is horrendous, despicable, and a criminal activity. 

It reads,  “The act is capable of retarding the giant strides made by the government and people of Bayelsa in the area of protection of child rights.”

The DO foundation noted that the Child’s Rights Law was domesticated in the state in 2016 and is still in force in Bayelsa.

“This law criminalises child marriages and child betrothals prescribing various terms of imprisonment and heavy fines.” the foundation noted.

The foundation called on the Bayelsa government, the Gender Response Initiative Team and all stakeholders in the gender response system to immediately swing into action to respond appropriately.

It urged the security agencies to launch a thorough investigation into the incident, with a view to the protection of the child from sexual exploitation.

The group also demanded the arrest and prosecution of all persons found culpable in this despicable act.

The foundation has launched an investigation into the development aimed at saving the child from the obnoxious situation.

It was further learnt that the marriage between the four-year-old ‘bride’ and the 54-year-old man simply identified as Elder Akpos was at the instance of the girl’s parents.

According to a source who does not wish to be named for fear of penalty for desecrating traditions, the parents of the four-year-old girl claim 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.

The toddler narrated that over the years, she has been moving from place to place, to be given birth to by 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 the Akeddei community, and that she was going to die peacefully and go her way.

To avoid losing the girl to death, the people of Akeddei decided to organise a glamorous wedding ceremony to mark the union of the two previous life lovers.”




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