As part of its plans to ensure that the number of sickle cell individuals reduces drastically in the state, the Anambra State House of Assembly has made it compulsory that all partners planning to get married must first conduct a genotype test before going ahead with their plans.
The bill, which had already been passed on Tuesday, was sponsored by the lawmaker representing Anaocha II constituency, Charles Ezeani.
The law would help in curbing the stigmatization, abuse and segregation that children living with sickle cell anemia go through regularly in the state.
The bill urged parents to stop marrying off their wards until the test has been conducted.
It equally stated that Religious bodies and clerics should not “perform the solemnization of Holy Matrimony” unless the couple had submitted a certificate showing they are free from giving birth to children with the condition.
As stated in the bill, defaulters, that is, clerics, parents, guardians, and marriage registries who go ahead to tie knots for couples without first verifying their genotypic compatibility, may get prison sentences.
The new rule reads, “Anybody who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment to a term of three years or both.”
In his reaction to the passing of the bill, Ezeani explained that the law would certainly help in preventing unnecessary deaths.