Home Metro Child marriage: Bayelsa Govt summons four-year-old girl’s parents, man, others

Child marriage: Bayelsa Govt summons four-year-old girl’s parents, man, others

by Akeem Adeyemi
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Child marriage: Bayelsa Govt summons four-year-old girl’s parents, man, others

Bayelsa State Government has invited the parents of a four-year-old girl as well as the 54-year-old man involved in a purported marriage in the Akeddei community in 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.

The Ministry of Women Affairs, Children Affairs and Social Development and GRIT acknowledge the receipt of a formal complaint from a child rights advocacy group, DO Foundation, on the controversial marriage.

The Director in charge of Child Development in 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 the Akeddei community honoured the government’s invitation and promised to produce the child, her parents, the 54-year-old man as well as 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 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 a 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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