Bayelsa Govt Wades Into Controversial Marriage Of 54 Years Man To 4 Year Old Girl

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

The state government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Children and Social Development and the State Gender Response Initiative Team, GRIT, 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.

Child rights advocacy groups in Bayelsa State last Thursday kicked against the traditional marriage between a four-year-old girl and a 54-year-old man at Akeddei community in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the State.

The child rights advocacy groups described the marriage as illegal, criminal and against the constitution and the Child Rights Act.

The Director in charge of Child Development at the ministry, Mr. Panebi Jacob; chairman of GRIT, Dr. Dise Ogbise-Goddy Harry Esq. and the state human rights commission, said in a statement on Saturday that the traditional ruler of Akeddei community honoured the government’s invitation and promised to produce the child, her parents, the 54-year-old man and the youth leader and the chairman of the Community Development Committee, CDC

The statement noted that the Bayelsa State Government does 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,” the statement read.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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