The Anambra State House of Assembly sitting in Awka, the state capital, has made genotype test compulsory for all prospective couples, before marriage.

The bill which passed through its first and second readings, before it was finally passed by the House provides that all intending couples must under go the genotype test in public health institution who can be held reliable for the result they issue to their clients.

The bill was passed in a bid to reduce the number of sickle cell patients in the state. It provides that, “anybody who contravenes the law shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment to a term of three years or both on conviction.

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, stigmatization 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 solemnization 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 ofN200,000 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.