Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Catholic Diocese of Kontagora in Niger State made history last weekend when it conducted a mass wedding for about 30 couples. This is just as the church has mounted a vigorous campaign against polygamy.
The consumption of the wedding took place at the St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Agwara with the Catholic Bishop of Kontagora Diocese, Most Reverend Dr. Bulus Dauwa Yohanna, who is also the chairman of the Niger State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Yohanna said that with the wedding the couples’ marriages, some have lasted for more than 20 years, “are now legal.”
He said that the Christian doctrine and principles forbids a man and woman to cohabit as husband and wife without being joined according to the law.
He explained that even though the husbands might have paid the traditional bride prices for their wives, it is still necessary for them to come before God and his people to be joined.
Yohanna preached against polygamy, saying that a true Christian must be a man of one wife who must also abstain from adultery and fornication.
He disclosed that the church would continue to encourage others who have not been joined together as demanded by the gospel to do so to make their marriages legal.
“We have to encourage them to do what is right, especially as Catholics. With this blessing of marriage, these 30 couples are now legally and officially married.”
Bishop Yohanna stressed that marriage is meant for “prepared adults,” pointing out that “some people refer to their marriages as dead while still alive due to lingering issues that are not tackled on time thereby causing couples not to talk to one another even while living in the same apartment.”
He stressed that “marriage is a life time commitment, which should be built on love and companionship.”
The Parish Priest, Reverend. Father Emmanuel Okoro, disclosed that the 30 couples completed their marriage traditional rites especially by paying their bride prices, adding that they were also subjected to three months marriage counseling that qualified them to be joined in the church.
One of the couples, Mr. Shuaibu Brisallah, and his wife expressed their joy, saying that they have cohabited for several years with four children.
“We are happy now that we are officially married and I thank the bishop for helping us realise the need to do the right thing.”