Chiefs asked to abolish absolete cultural practices

The Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, has called on traditional authorities and stakeholders to work together to eliminate harmful socio-cultural practices, particularly in the Upper West, Northern and Upper East regions.

He said it was important for the chieftaincy institution to prove skeptics wrong that it was ready to take the appropriate steps to abolish or modify these practices for the betterment of the populace.

Addressing a day’s validation workshop here at the weekend, the minister said the time had come for a definite decision to be taken on these practices, which impacted negatively mostly on women.

Alhaji Sulemani lamented the negative impact of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), elopement, child betrothal, widowhood rites and attacks on people suspected to posses   witchcraft on society.

He said the process of collating all harmful socio-cultural practices in the three northern regions was in consonant with the government’s commitment to eliminate obsolete cultural practices.

According to Alhaji Sulemani the 1992 constitution stipulates under article 26 (2) that “All customary practices which dehumanise or are injurious to the physical and mental wellbeing of a person are prohibited”.

He noted that the chieftaincy Act 2008, Act 759 section 50 also made room for traditional councils to modify or assimilate customary law into common law.

In a speech read on his behalf, the president of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, Naa Dr. Puoure Puobi Chiir VII, said the chieftaincy institution was governed by legislative instruments, and regulations, which made it prudent for traditional authorities to deliberate and appropriately seek a way forward on bad customary practices .

This he said included “necessary measures being taken to eliminate harmful traditional practices that contravene the basic laws of the country”.

Naa Chiir commended the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs and the United States Agency For International Aid for initiating a research to document harmful cultural practices in the three northern regions.

From Cliff Ekuful, Wa

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