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.

Recall that DAILY POST had earlier reported that scores of 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 child marriage which is 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.

Child marriage: Bayelsa govt summons four-year-old girl’s parents, groom, others

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