Ministry releases alleged underage bride to family •My marriage not your business, says girl as family queries rationale for intervention - AMEBO NEWSPAPERS NG.


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Ministry releases alleged underage bride to family •My marriage not your business, says girl as family queries rationale for intervention

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•Alleged under-age bride Chinwe and husband, 56-year-old Izuchukwu Igwilo

The Anambra State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has released an alleged underage girl who was married off to a 56-year-old man.

Chinwe, an indigene of Ihiala and a mother of one, was reportedly married off by her parents at the age of 16 to Izuchukwu Igwilo, of a wealthy family in Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state.

The ministry was said to have picked her up on suspicions of being forced into the marriage by her parents.

News Express gathered that Chinwe was married off by her parents out of poverty to Igwilo, who is suspected to be either suffering from down syndrome or mentally deranged.

It was also learnt that Igwilo’s rich family had arranged the marriage as a way of settling their brother and to help him build a family.

After the controversial marriage was blown up on social media, the Coordinator of Behind Bars Rights Foundation, Mr. Harrison Gwamnishu, championed the release of Chinwe by her in-laws.

Gwamnishu said his group saw the footage of the traditional marriage on Facebook on January 28, 2019 and considered it absurd.

He said: “We moved from Delta State where we are based to Ozubulu but the entire marriage seemed shrouded in secrecy.

“The Igwilo family were not willing to speak nor were the members of the community. We, however, gathered that the Igwilos were very, very rich and wanted to use the girl to settle their brother. Since our interest is not the man, we moved to Ihiala where we met the parents. They were not cooperative.”

According to Gwamnishu, the girl’s father asked why they were interested in his daughter, saying that he married her off to a family that is in a position to take care of her. “He also said we had no reason to meddle in family affairs. After our investigations, we went back to our base and petitioned the police,” Gwamnishu disclosed.

He added that the girl was on Saturday night (February 2) handed over to Anambra State Commissioner of Women and Children Affairs, Mr. Ndidi Mezue.

When contacted, the commissioner said that the ministry’s utmost concern at this period is the safety and well-being of the young girl in question, as well as the well-being of her young child.

She, however, said that after interactions with the parties involved, the girl was released back to her people, adding that the ministry has no right under any law to keep her.

But the girl on her part dismissed the insinuation that she is under-aged, saying that she was born in the year 2001, which makes her 18 years old and not 16 as being claimed.

She demanded that nobody should interfere in her marriage.


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