Summoned by the Bayelsa State Government, parents of a ‘toddler’ bride and a 54-year-old groom face scrutiny over child marriage.

Bayelsa Gov't Probes Child Marriage: Toddler Bride, 54-Year-Old Groom
Bayelsa Gov’t Probes Child Marriage: Toddler Bride, 54-Year-Old Groom

The Bayelsa Government has taken decisive action in response to reports of a disturbing marriage involving a four-year-old girl and a 54-year-old man in the Akeddei community, Sagbama Local Government Area.

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This controversial incident has raised concerns and prompted the state government to intervene, denouncing the illegal marriage as unacceptable and contrary to the principles of justice and fairness.

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In a joint statement issued by Dr. Dise Ogbise-Goddy and Mr. Paniebi Jacob of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Children, and Social Development, the government expressed its strong disapproval of the tradition-based union. Acknowledging a complaint filed by the DO Foundation, a child rights advocacy group, the government swiftly summoned community leaders to address the issue. The intervention emphasizes the state’s commitment to combatting child marriage and aligns with the Bayelsa State Child Rights Law.

Collaborating with the state Human Rights Commission and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as FIDA and the DO Foundation, the government aims to prevent similar incidents and ensure the protection of children in Bayelsa State. The joint effort underscores a collective commitment to upholding child rights, advocating for justice, and safeguarding the welfare of children.

According to reports, the alleged marriage was orchestrated by the parents of the young girl, who claimed that the older man was her deceased husband from a past life. The child, reportedly influenced by these beliefs, asserted that marrying her purported past husband was crucial to avoid departing peacefully from the community.

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In response to this unusual justification for the union, the community organized an elaborate wedding ceremony to unite the two individuals based on their claimed past lives. However, the Bayelsa State Government remains resolute in upholding the law and prioritizing the welfare of children. The government’s stance underscores its commitment to addressing and preventing child marriages, challenging cultural practices that endanger the well-being of minors.

This intervention reflects a comprehensive approach involving legal frameworks, governmental agencies, and collaboration with civil society organizations to ensure the protection and rights of children in Bayelsa State. The government’s swift response to this alarming incident sends a clear message about the importance of enforcing child protection laws and challenging harmful cultural practices that jeopardize the well-being of minors.