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Anambra man arrested for allegedly marrying off underage daughter



A man in Anambra State, Nigeria, has been arrested for allegedly marrying off his underage daughter, according to local authorities.

The suspect, identified as Uzochukwu Okoli, is accused of violating child marriage laws.

Details regarding the daughter’s age and the circumstances surrounding the arranged marriage are still emerging. However, child marriage is a serious offense in Nigeria, with the Child Rights Act (2003) prohibiting the marriage of any person under the age of 18.

Okoli was apprehended after his daughter reported to the state Ministry of Women and Social Welfare about the ill-treatment being meted out to her by her father and the man he forced her to marry.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Chidimma Ikeanyionwu, the Media Aide to the state Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, on Thursday.

Ikeanyionwu said the girl, identified as Chioma, who is currently 16 years old, told the ministry that after the death of their mother, their father brought her back from Edo State, where they were going to school to take a husband.

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The statement read, “She alleged that she was first forced to live with a 70-year-old man at the age of 14, but after some time, she ran back to her father’s house before he finally gave her out to a 34-year-old Chinedu N. as husband.

“Chioma, who also came with her elder sister, explained that life with the said husband has been a ‘living hell’ because he beats her and sometimes, after beating her, pees in her mouth and that made her run away with her nine-month-old baby.

“Her father, Uzochukwu Okoli, on the other hand, claimed his daughter is 18 years old and, at some point, said 20 years.

“Okoli, when he was handcuffed, threatened to deal with the daughters if he made it out of prison. He also urged them to pray he dies in prison because he will make life more miserable for them.”

The Anambra State Government has condemned the practice, highlighting its commitment to protecting children from exploitation and abuse. Authorities have not yet disclosed the charges Okoli faces or potential penalties.

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