Yenagoa, Bayelsa – In response to media reports surrounding a controversial marriage centered o Reincarnation between a 4-year-old girl and a 54-year-old man in the Akeddei community of Sagbama Local Government Area, the Bayelsa Government has taken swift action by summoning the parents of the young girl and the elderly groom.
In a joint statement provided to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, Dr. Dise Ogbise-Goddy, Chairman of the Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT) Bayelsa, and Mr. Paniebi Jacob, Director of Child Development in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Children and Social Development, expressed the government’s concern over what they termed an “illegal marriage” based on tradition and customs. They emphasized that such practices are repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good conscience.
The Ministry of Women, Children Affairs, and Social Development, in collaboration with GRIT, acknowledged a formal complaint from the child rights advocacy group DO Foundation regarding the controversial marriage. The government’s statement revealed that the traditional ruler of the Akeddei community responded to the invitation, committing to produce the child, her parents, the groom, the youth leader, and the chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC).
The Bayelsa Government emphasized its stance against child marriage and highlighted the passage of the Bayelsa State Child Rights Law as evidence of its commitment to safeguarding the welfare of children. The statement affirmed the government’s determination to rescue the child from what they referred to as a “mere spiritual affair,” and collaboration with the Bayelsa State Police Command was announced to prevent such incidents from recurring.
The government expressed gratitude to non-governmental organizations, including FIDA and DO Foundation, for their intervention in rescuing the innocent child, reiterating Bayelsa State’s dedication to being children-friendly.
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However, it was revealed that the alleged marriage involving the man known as Elder Akpos was at the request of the girl’s parents. A source, speaking anonymously to protect traditions, explained that the parents believed the 54-year-old man was their daughter’s husband in a previous life. The girl herself claimed that the man was her husband who had mysteriously died in their past life, stating that she had been moving from place to place, being born to different parents in search of her former husband.
The community, fearing the consequences of defying traditions, decided to organize a lavish kkjojbk,boo wedding ceremony to unite the two lovers from their previous lives. The young bride conveyed that if she couldn’t marry her husband, she would have no reason to stay in Akeddei and would peacefully accept death.
The situation is a violation of the rights of the child as guaranteed and provided by the Child Rights Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We at VOTP News commend the Bayelsa state government for taking swift action to protect the rights of the child, who is still too tender to make decisions. We outrightly condemn the actions of the child’s parents, as child marriages are entirely illegal and prohibited under Nigerian law.
Reincarnation 4-Year-Old Gets Married to a 54-Year-Old Man in Traditional Belief