In a bid to reduce the number of sickle cell patients in the state, the Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a bill that makes genotype test compulsory before marriage.
The bill, which was sponsored by Charles Ezeani, member representing Anaocha II constituency and 15 others, was passed on Tuesday. The new law also seeks to reduce abuse, stigmatisation and exploitation victims of sickle cell anaemia go through in the state.
The new law states that parents and guardians should not give out their children in marriage until a genotype test is carried out. According to the law, no religious body or marriage registry “shall perform solemnisation of Holy Matrimony”, without presentation of a sickle cell disease prevention certificate from the intending couple.
As punishment, parents, guardians, as well as priests, pastors and marriage registries that perform the marriage without genotype test, risk going to jail. “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 law states.
Speaking after the passage of the bill, Ezeani said that love is blind but the new law would ensure that lives are saved, and unnecessary death prevented.