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 early marriages. Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on ending child marriages at Dodo-Tamale in the Kadjebi District in the Volta Region. Mr. Latsu stated that child marriage is a criminal act and punishable by law. He disclosed that subsection 1 of section 14 of the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560), states clearly, “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 contravenes the law commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding GH₵500.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.
Mr. Latsu, who spoke on the topic: “End Child Marriages Now”, described child marriage as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18.He explained that although both boys and girls are victims, girls fall prey to child marriage.
He cited the lack of education, cultural practice and insecurity, poor parenting, ignorance among others at some of the causes of early/force marriages. He called on stakeholders to help strengthen formal prevention and protection of children through the enforcement of laws and policies on child marriages.
The Kadjebi District Director of Education, Ms. Grace Lorlor AblaBonuedi, urged parents to invest in their wards, especially educating the girl-child, rather than buying expensive clothes to attend weddings and funerals.
She bemoaned the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy among school girls, adding that in the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) sitting, 12 pregnant candidates sat for the examination.
Ms. Bonuedi, advised parents to provide the girl child with the basic needs and show affection to help reduce teenage pregnancy among young girls.
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 charged them not to settle rape and defilement cases home since it is criminal and perpetrators must be reported to face the full rigours of the law. The forum was organized by Nkwanta Cluster Office of World Vision Ghana.