Thursday, May 13, 2021

‘Child marriage’ causes stir in Imo


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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A 17-year-old girl, Blessing Udoye, has tied the knot with a much older groom, causing stir in her family.

The marriage, officiated by a pastor of Fishers of Men Charismatic Church, Isiokpo, Imo State, was done without the consent or knowledge of her girl’s family.

Blessing’s brother, Raphael Udoye, told Punch that he got information about the wedding two weeks ago through his sister’s friend, adding that he discarded it.

Blessing Udoye with husband after the wedding

“When I got home, I called my sister (Blessing) and asked her about the alleged wedding and she said if I wanted to know I should come to her church for details.

“I was shocked because this is the girl I paid her Senior School Certificate Examination fee.

“She did not get good grades and I am still trying to persuade her to sit for another exam when it is time or learn a trade. I did not know what she wants is to get married to a stranger.

“I called my other siblings to ask if they were aware of any wedding, but they all denied knowledge of it.

“When my father got back, I asked him and he was shocked and angry that he summoned my sister to the sitting room where he asked her about the wedding.

“She said it was her pastor that said she should not inform her family members, adding that she met the man at one their church’s retreat in Benin,” he said.

Raphael, who claimed that investigation showed that the pastor had planned the wedding for about six months ago, said his father visited the pastor and confronted him.

He added that the pastor, who did not feel remorseful for his act, said the church had fixed the wedding date and it could not be changed.

The Imo State indigene, who noted that Blessing left home days before the wedding, said her phone number had been switched off and her whereabouts was unknown.

Mr Udoye, who described the wedding as a taboo, said the family did not accept the husband as their in-law.

“I don’t want my sister to get married now, I want her to go back to school; she is still young.

“But if she wants to get married, her husband should come in a rightful manner and ask for her hand in marriage.”

Contacted, the church said: “We also got the information and we have sent our media team to the village and they will make a report.

“We don’t conduct a wedding without the consent of the parents. But our media team will meet with the parent of the girl, the aggrieved brother and come up with a detailed report.”

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