Anambra Assembly passes law banning marriage between sickle cell carriers

The Anambra State House of Assembly has outlawed marriages involving people living with sickle cell anaemia.

The bill was sponsored by the member representing Anaocha II state constituency, Charles Ezeani and 15 others.

The law, to be cited as Sickle Cell Disease Control and Eradication Repeal, sought to eradicate sickle cell anaemia in Anambra State and set those living with it free from all kinds of oppression, abuse and exploitation.

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

It also provided that no religious body or marriage registry “shall perform solemnisation of Holy Matrimony” without first demanding and obtaining a sickle cell disease prevention certificate from intending couples.

The law stated, “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 three years imprisonment or both.”

The law put in place a monitoring committee to ensure compliance.

Speaking, the co-sponsor of the bill,  Charles Ezeani, described the law as    life-saving.

He said the development would put a stop to the notion “that love is blind” by ensuring that intending couples must present their genotype test certificate before marriage.

Ezeani commended the Speaker of the Assembly, Mrs Rita Maduagwu and other members for being the first to pass such  health enhancement bill into law in the country.

On her part, 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 marginalisation in the state.

(The Punch)