Bayelsa Govt Invites Parents Of 4-Year-Old Bride Given In Marriage To 54-Year-Old Man

The Bayelsa State Government has invited the parents of a four-year-old girl and the 54-year-old man allegedly involved in a marriage in Akeddei community in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.

The government’s intervention came after media reports of a December 26 marriage between the “bride” and the 54- year-old man.

The government in a statement issued on Saturday, jointly signed by Dr Dise Ogbise-Goddy, Chairman, Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT) and Mr Paniebi Jacob, Director, Child Development in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Children and Social Development, described the alleged marriage as illegal.

The state government, which frowned at the development, also expressed concern over the “illegal marriage” based on tradition and customs, saying it was repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

According to the statement, the Ministry of Women, Children Affairs and Social Development and GRIT have acknowledged the receipt of a formal complaint from a child rights advocacy group, DO Foundation, on the controversial marriage.

Jacob, Ogbise-Goddy and the state Human Rights Commission, said the traditional ruler of Akeddei community honoured the government’s invitation and promised to produce the child, her parents, the groom, the youth leader and the chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC).

The statement noted that the Bayelsa Government did not support child marriage under any guise.

“That is why the state government did not hesitate to assent to the passage of the Bayelsa State Child Rights Law.

“We are taking steps to rescue the child from all the key actors in relation to this illegal ceremony that they tagged a ‘mere spiritual’ affair.

“The law is clear on issues of tradition and customs that are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and working with the Bayelsa State Police Command, we shall ensure incidents like this do not occur in the state again.

“On behalf of the governor of Bayelsa State, we express our gratitude to all the non-governmental organisations, including FIDA and DO Foundation, that have risen to the rescue of this innocent child.

“Bayelsa State is children-friendly and this case will be pursued to a logical conclusion.”

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