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He was her husband in her past life, parents claim as they give 4-year-old girl in marriage to 54-year-old man

The parents of a four-year-old girl have explained why they gave away their baby in marriage to a man 50 years her senior.

This is even as a child rights advocacy group in Bayelsa, DO Foundation, has kicked against the December 26 traditional marriage between a four-year-old baby girl and a 54-year-old man at Akeddei community in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that the illegal marriage between the four-year-old girl and the 54-year-old man identified as Elder Akpos was at the instance of the girl’s parents, who claimed that the man was her husband in their past lives together.

According to community sources, the girl claimed that the man was her husband who died mysteriously in his previous life and that over the years, she had been moving from place to place, to be birthed under different parents, searching for her former husband.

One of the sources 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 and go her way.

The girl claimed that the man was her husband who died mysteriously in his previous life and that over the years, she had been moving from place to place, to be birthed under different parents, searching for her former husband -Sources

“In order to avoid losing the girl to death, the people of Akeddei decided to organize a glamorous wedding ceremony to mark the union of the two previous-life lovers.”

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However, Do Foundation, in a statement signed by its Chairperson in Bayelsa State, Elvis Mannie, confirmed the development. He said the foundation had launched an investigation into the development to save the child.

In the statement, the foundation described the said child marriage as “horrendous and despicable, and also 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.”

It noted that the Child Rights Law was domesticated in 2016 and is still in force in Bayelsa State.

“This law criminalizes child marriage and child betrothal on the pain of imprisonment and heavy fines,” it said.

The organisation 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 to protect the child from sexual exploitation, and arrest and prosecute all “persons found culpable in this despicable event”.

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ASP Musa Mohammed, the spokesperson for the state police command, said he was not aware of such a union. He, however, promised to call the Divisional Police Officer in the area to investigate and get more information about it.

Theresa Arike with Agency Reports
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