THE Catholic Bishop of the Kontagora Diocese, Most Rev Dr Bulus Yohanna, yesterday, performed a mass wedding for 30 couples in Niger State’s Agwara Local Government Area.
Bishop Yohanna, who married the couples in holy matrimony at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Agwara, revealed that it is forbidden for a couple to cohabit until they are legally joined together in marriage, both traditionally by paying a bride price and being blessed in the church.
He was speaking out against a long-standing community custom that allows a man to live with more than one woman without paying the bride price. He urged them to build a family that adheres to religious and legal requirements.
While revealing that the thirty couples had fulfilled all traditional marriage rites, including paying their bride costs, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okoro, also stated that they had to undergo three months of marriage counseling, which made them eligible to be joined as husband and wife in the church.
Shuaibu Bisallah and his spouse were among the newlyweds. They expressed much joy and also revealed that they had been together for a number of years and had four children.
They however added that “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”.