Don’t force the girl-child into marriage — NCCE

BY: Victor Kwawukume
Mr Daniel Agbesi Latsu, NCCE District Director (standing), addressing participants
Mr Daniel Agbesi Latsu, NCCE District Director (standing), addressing participants

The Kadjebi District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Daniel Agbesi Latsu, has appealed to parents to desist from forcing their girl-child into marriage.

Mr Latsu said the act was criminal and punishable at the law court since it contravened subsection 1 of section 14 of the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) that says “no person shall force a child to be married”.

He said the minimum age for marriage of whatever kind should be 18 years and stressed that any person who contravened the law committed an offence and was liable to summary conviction and a fine not exceeding GH¢ 500 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

Mr Latsu made these statements at a stakeholders’ forum on ending child marriages at Dodo-Tamale in the Kadjebi District in the Volta Region organised by the Nkwanta Cluster Office of the World Vision Ghana.

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End child marriage now

Mr Latsu, who spoke on the topic: “End child marriages now”, described child marriage as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, stressing that although both boys and girls were victims, girls were disproportionately the most affected.

He mentioned poverty, lack of education, cultural practice and insecurity, poor parenting, ignorance and the weak child protection system as some of the factors sustaining the practice.

He thus called on stakeholders to help strengthen formal prevention and protection of children through the enforcement of laws and policies on child marriage.

Invest in your children

The Kadjebi District Director of Education, Madam Grace Lorlor Abla Bonuedi, urged parents to invest in their children, especially the girl-child’s education, rather than buying expensive clothes.

She bemoaned the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy among school girls, adding that at the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the district, 12 pregnant candidates sat for the examination.

Madam Bonuedi, therefore, appealed to parents to provide girls with their basic necessities, show them love and affection to help reduce that phenomenon.

The Kadjebi District Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Eric Arthur Fynn, called on the participants to help stop violence against children, especially the girl-child.

Mr Fynn also advised them not to settle rape and defilement cases at home since it was criminal.