Outrage when a 4-year-old girl marries a 54-year-old man in Bayelsa


Child Rights Advocacy groups in Bayelsa State have kicked against the Boxing Day traditional marriage between a four- year- old girl and a 54 years old man at Akeddei community in Sagbama Local Government Area.

The groups including foremost Child Rights group, Do Foundation, described the marriage as illegal, criminal and violation of the Child Rights Act, reports Daily Sun.

According to investigations, the illegal act was at the instance of the parents of the girl, who declared that the 54-year-old man, identified as Elder Akpos, was their daughter’s husband in their previous life.

Sources in the community stated that the girl claimed that Elder Akpos was her husband who died mysteriously in their previous life, adding that over the years, she has been moving from place to place, to be birthed under different parents, searching for her former husband.

“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 own way,” the source said.

“In order 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.”

Elvis Mannie, in a statement on behalf of Do Foundation, confirmed the illegal marriage, noting that the group has launched an investigation into the development with the hope of saving the child.

“The Foundation described the said child marriage as horrendous and despicable, and also a criminal activity, capable of retarding the giant strides made by the government and people of Bayelsa State in the area of protection of child rights,” he said.

Mannie, who noted that the Child’s Right Law was domesticated in 2016 and is still in force in Bayelsa State, stressed that the law ‘’criminalises child marriages and child betrothals on pain of imprisonment and heavy fines.”

The Foundation called on the Government of Bayelsa State, the Gender Response Initiative Team and all stakeholders in the Gender Response system, including the security agencies, to launch a thorough investigation into the incident, with a view to the protection of the child from sexual exploitation, and the arrest and prosecution of all persons found culpable in the shocking event.

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