Bayelsa Bans Marriage Of Widows, Widowers To Relations | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bayelsa Bans Marriage Of Widows, Widowers To Relations

Posted: Jun 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson has prohibited the forceful marriage of the spouse of a deceased person to a relation in the state.

Dickson spoke on Tuesday while signing the Widows and Widowers’ Protection Bill, 2015, at Government House, Yenagoa, following its passage by the House of Assembly.

The tradition has been identified as one of the many negative cultural practices in different parts of the state.

“Henceforth, marriage to a relation of a deceased spouse against the individual’s wish and compelling a widow or widower to do any of the several acts contained in the law would be considered unlawful,” the governor said.

He noted that the new law was designed to protect vulnerable groups, particularly widows and widowers, against harmful traditions and cultural practices.

Dickson said women were the most affected in some cultural practices, describing them as the vulnerable groups.

He commended the sponsor of the bill, Agatha Goma, an out-going lawmaker in the House of Assembly representing Ekeremor I.

“The Widows and Widowers’ Protection Law of our state deals with a lot of negative cultural practices, particularly affecting the womenfolk in our society.

“We need to protect women, more particularly women who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, because we all know that sometimes our cultural practices are not friendly to widows who (have) lost husbands and breadwinners.

“And this bill has stepped in to offer some protection,” he said.

Dickson called on the state legislature to take urgent steps in considering and passing the Child Rights Bill before the end of the fourth legislative Assembly for his executive assent.

He also urged the ministries of Justice and Women Affairs to enlighten the public on the provisions of the new law and lauded the lawmakers for their dedication to legislative business.

In his remarks, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson, said the bill was forwarded to the House on July 8, 2014 and was passed on the May 5, 2015.