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Rights body offers hope to victims forced marriages

05 April 2016, 08:48Okoro Chinedu

Lagos – A human rights group, the Citizens Rights and Empowerment Advocacy Initiative (CREMA Initiative), has pledged free legal assistance to victims of abduction for marriage in the country.

The group’s President/Executive Director, Rexkennedy Saltlove, and the Director of Information, James Ezema, jointly condemned the growing cases of marriage by capture in Nigeria.

The decision of the body followed its findings, which revealed that cases of marriage by kidnapping, a practice in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry, were on the rise in some parts of the country.

“Our findings also revealed that about 75 percent of bride abduction cases were never reported to the authorities for fear of intimidation and harassment by the abductors and their collaborators, while no proactive steps have been taken by the government to free victims, who are mainly young schoolgirls between the ages of 11 and 16,” the officials said.

CREMA Initiative further discovered that victims of forced marriage or brides by abduction were children of the less privileged members of the society who cannot afford legal fees, hence to decision to assist the victims.

Also read: Jury convicts man of lewd acts on child he later married

“We are very worried that bride kidnappers are not punished but protected by some elites who should have condemned it as a sex crime rather than celebrate the vice as a valid form of marriage. More so, when under aged schoolgirls are the victims as recently brought to light by the case of the Bayelsan victim, Ese Oruru.”

More worrisome, according to the group, as that “most parents of the victims had been forced to nurse their pains in their bedchambers, while the authorities ignored the trend.

The organisations said they were ready to assist such traumatised families by all legal means to secure the freedom of their wards in line with our tradition of standing with the vulnerable and less privileged members of the society.

“We, therefore, urge the victims or their families to contact via email: complaints@cremainitiative.org or call 08175047979 or 08121649663 for necessary assistance,” the group said.

The offer comes after Nigerians expressed outrage over the alleged abduction of 14-year-old Oruru by one Yinusa, who also forced her into marriage and got her pregnant. 

- CAJ News


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