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Imo Assembly moves to unify bride price, marriage rites

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A bill for a law to prohibit and persecute persons who oppose marriage on the ground of Osu Caste system has passed second reading on the floor of the Imo State House of Assembly.

The proposed piece of legislation also stipulates that both bride price and total expense for the marriage rites will not exceed N80,000 and N180,000.

“No person (s) or group of persons shall have the right under this law to prevent customary marriage between two persons, the bride and the groom, who have agreed to marry themselves due to the practice of any obnoxious social stratification or caste system in Imo State, which practice has been prohibited by law or overtaken by current realities,” it read in part.

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The chief sponsor and member representing Obowo Constituency, Kennedy Ibe, said the bill, when passed into law, would also ensure the unification of bride price and other marriage-related matters across the state.

Briefing newsmen in Owerri shortly after plenary, Ibe disclosed that the proposed law would also prosecute anybody who directly or indirectly gives false information to prevent, blackmail, disrupt or stop any customary marriage in the state.

His words: “Anybody guilty of the offences shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000 or seven years imprisonment or both punishments.”

He added that the move would also make it a crime for anybody, group or family to make demands for customary marriage rites in excess of the stipulated amount of money.

“Anybody, who contravenes the provision of the law, by making excessive demands for customary marriage rites, shall be guilt of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for three months or to both punishments.

“Any other act committed by anybody, not provided in this law, which is considered or judged as being obnoxious by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be punished in line with the provisions of this law,” Ibe further clarified.

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