Tension as 54-year-old man marries four-year-old girl in Bayelsa [PHOTO]

There is brewing tension at Akeddei community in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following the “marriage” between a 54-year-old man, identified as Elder Akpos and a four-year-old girl.

It was gathered that the traditional marriage was held on Tuesday, December 26.

Parents of the four-year-old girl reportedly consented to the union.

According to community sources, the girl claimed that the man was her husband who died mysteriously in their previous lives, and that over the years, she has been moving from place to place searching for her former husband.

The source said, “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. In order to avoid losing the girl, the people of Akeddei decided to organise a glamorous wedding ceremony to mark the union of the two previous life lovers.”

Reacting to the “marriage”, child rights advocacy group, Do Foundation, faulted the union between Akpos and the minor.

The advocacy group described the marriage as illegal and criminal adding that it said was against the Nigerian Constitution and the Child Rights Act.

In a statement by its chairperson in Bayelsa State, Elvis Mannie, the foundation confirmed the development, adding that it had launched an investigation into the development with the hope of saving the child.

“The foundation describes the said child marriage as horrendous and despicable, and 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,” Mannie said.

He noted that the Child’s Right Law was domesticated in 2016 and was still in force in Bayelsa State.

“This law criminalises child marriages and child betrothals,” it added.

The foundation called on the government of Bayelsa State, the Gender Response Initiative Team and all stakeholders in the Gender Response system, including security agencies, to launch a thorough investigation into the incident, with a view to protecting the child from sexual exploitation, while seeking the arrest and prosecution of all persons found culpable in this despicable event.

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