Parents of 4-Year-Old Married to 54-Year-Old Man Finally Break Silence

Parents of 4-Year-Old Married to 54-Year-Old Man Finally Break Silence

  • In a Bayelsa community, a union involving a four-year-old 'bride' and a 54-year-old man is explained by the parents as a customary practice to preserve the child's life
  • The marriage, held in the Akeddei community within Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa, is asserted to be a spiritual ceremony
  • This ceremony intended to sever ties between the two individuals who were supposedly betrothed in their "past lives" journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil society, courts, and metro.

The parent of a four-year-old child married a 54-year-old man has attributed the decision to a traditional practice aimed at saving the child's life.

The marriage, which took place in the Akeddei community in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa, was described as a spiritual ceremony intended to dissolve a perceived betrothal from their "previous lives."

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The parents of the 4-year-old girl said the decision was taken to save her life
The Bayelsa state government summoned all the parties involved in the controversial marriage. Photo Credit: Douye Diri
Source: Facebook

In response to widespread public concern, the Bayelsa Government has summoned the girl's parents, the 54-year-old, the traditional ruler, and other parties involved for further investigation.

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Facing the Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT) of the state government, which included Dr Dise Ogbise-Goddy and Kizito Andah, parents and other participants detailed their roles in the alleged child marriage.

They argued that the event, referred to as "Koripamo," was a cultural custom in the Akeddei community aimed at preserving the life of a girl child prone to frequent illnesses.

The participants clarified that the ceremony wasn't a formal marriage but a traditional practice involving a symbolic payment.

They stressed that the individual making the symbolic gesture wasn't obligated to marry the girl, and the ritual wouldn't hinder the girl from marrying anyone of her choice in the future.

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The community representatives emphasised that "Koripamo" could be performed on both boys and girls by Ijaw tradition.

Father of young bride speaks

Mr. Morris Aboma, the father of the child, stated in the Ijaw language that his daughter's constant illness had brought her to the brink of death.

Following Akeddei tradition, it was deemed necessary for a man to make a symbolic payment to ensure the child's survival.

It was emphasised that this act was not associated with a genuine marriage.

Mr. Akpos Napoleon, the individual involved, expressed remorse regarding the public uproar, clarifying that his participation was solely to preserve the child's life.

He highlighted that the tradition had been a longstanding practice without previous elaborate celebrations.

As quoted by the Nigerian Tribune, Napoleon said:

“But since she says if I don’t do what she says she will die, I had to look for money and do it since it involves life; as it is, I am frustrated by this whole issue.”

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Chief Moneyman Binabo, the paramount ruler, clarified that the incident in Akeddei was not an official marriage but rather the observance of a cultural tradition.

He expressed surprise at the girl's request for an elaborate ceremony and stressed that the man who made the symbolic payment wasn't expected to live with her as a husband.

Representatives from GRIT confirmed that the event was not a formal marriage but a cultural practice.

They assured that the child hadn't experienced sexual abuse, and a medical professional at the GRIT office verified her normal living conditions, emphasising that there was no relationship with the 54-year-old man.

GRIT chairman, Dr Ogbise-Goddy, pledged to provide further updates. He mentioned that the Bayelsa State government, committed to child welfare, would review the situation and take appropriate measures to safeguard the children from any perceived abuse.

Ogbise-Goddy said:

“Like I had stated earlier, the Bayelsa State Government is child-friendly and will do anything to protect all the children of the state from any form of perceived abuse.”

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Tragedy as wrestler returning from wedding dies in Bayelsa boat accident

In another report, the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) has been thrown into mourning following the tragic death of one of its members.

The wrestler, John Jerry, drowned in a boat accident while returning from a traditional marriage in Peremabiri Community.

The Secretary General of NWF, Mohammed H. Maigidansanma, said Jerry was one of the outstanding wrestlers in the country.


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