Give out sickle cell people in marriage, risk 3 years imprisonment: Anambra Assembly threatens parents in new bill

Posted by News Express | 2 May 2019 | 1,322 times

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•Anambra House of Assembly Speaker Rita Maduagwu

The Anambra State House of Assembly on Tuesday passed a law prohibiting parents and guardians from giving out their sickle cell anaemia children in marriage.

The bill, which was sponsored by the member representing Anaocha II Constituency, Charles Ezeani and 15 others, also prohibits pastors from joining sickle anaemia people in such marriages as well as registries.

According to the breakdown of the bill tagged ‘Sickle Cell Disease Control and Eradication Repeal Law’, parents who indulge in such arrangement in the state risk being imprisoned for three years.

Ezeani explained that the purpose of the law is to eradicate sickle cell anaemia in the state and set those living with it free from all kinds of abuse, oppression, and exploitation.

Other provisions of the law state that no religious body or marriage registry “shall perform holy matrimony” without first demanding and obtaining sickle cell disease prevention certificate from intending couples.

It barred parents, guardians or group of persons from giving out their children/wards in marriages without verification of a qualified sickle cell disease prevention certificate.

The law further states that, “anybody who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment to a term of three years or both.”

The sponsor of the bill, Hon. Ezeani, said that the development would put a stop to the notion “that love is blind” by ensuring that intending couples must present their genotype test before marriage.

While describing it as life-saving, he hailed the Speaker of the State Assembly, Mrs. Rita Maduagwu, and other members of the Assembly for being the first to pass such health-enhancement bill into law in the country.

Reacting to the passage of the bill, the National Coordinator of People Living with Sickle Cell Anaemia, Aisha Edwards, thanked the lawmakers for enacting a law that would protect the sickle cell patients from all forms of discrimination and marginalization in the state.

The House set up a committee to monitor the adherence of the law in the state.

Source: News Express

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