5th December, 2023
By Nehru Odeh
It has been reported that some young girls who were tested for virginity were issued certificates after passing the tests on Saturday 2 December 2023 in a rite of passage celebrated by the people of Ogu Kingdom in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The rite of passage is called Iria, an ancient ceremony done to mark the transition of girls, usually virgins, into womanhood. The girls, of marriageable age, were issued certificates by the Council of Chiefs.
Iria is considered a rite of passage for young girls as they reach puberty and begin to mature physically.
To be certified a virgin, the girls are checked by women in the town. After that, they are then kept in a room in which they undergo training on womanhood
After passing through this process, which is an Okrika (Ijaw) ceremony that dates back to the 17th century, the qualified girls are given certificates showing that they are now adults and ready to marry.