Following moves to discourage couples from cohabiting illegally, the Catholic Bishop of Kontagora Diocese, Archbishop Dr. Bulus Dauwa Yohanna, over the weekend organized a mass wedding for thirty couples in Agwarra Local Government Area of Niger State.
Bishop Yohanna, joining married couples at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Joseph in Agwarra Local Government Area of Niger State, disclosed that unless couples are legally united in marriage both traditionally (through a bride’s award) and a blessing in the church, it is wrong for them to live together.
In this regard, he said: “For many years, the people of Agwarra have relied so heavily on traditional marriage, which encourages them to take more wives, without even paying rewards to the brides or doing the right thing.
“We must encourage them to do what is right, especially as Catholics. With this blessing of marriage, these thirty couples are now legally and officially married because, despite years of cohabitation, they have now paid the bride price of their wives.”
Bishop Yohanna, revealing that marriage is intended for prepared adults, said, “some people call their marriages dead in life due to persistent problems that are not resolved in a timely manner, resulting in couples not speaking to each other even while living in the same apartment.”
He further stated that marriage is a lifelong commitment that should be built on love and companionship.
In his speech, the parish priest, Fr. Emmanuel Okoro disclosed that thirty couples completed their traditional marriage rites.
“They all paid bounties to their fiancée and underwent three months of marriage counseling, which qualified them to be united in the church,” he added.
Expressing their joy, one of the couples, Shuaibu Brisallah and his wife, said: “We have been living together for several years and already have four children.
“We are happy to be officially married now and I thank the Bishop for helping me realize the need to do what is right.”