Police in Jirapa have arrested two men from the Tampaala community in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region, for abetting the marriage of their teenage daughters.
The two, 54-year-old Noponong Botaa and 60-year-old Cletus Puogbigre were picked up by the police on Friday afternoon in their various homes after a report by Naa Mwinsaama Bondegbee II, chief of the community.
The two, who were said to have abetted the marriage of their teenage girls who were pupils of Tampaala Junior High School (JHS), refused to cooperate with the chief in his efforts to get the husbands to return the girls to the community for them to continue their education.
Naa Bondegbee, who caused the arrest of the two abettors, hinted that he was forced to let the police take the action to serve as a threat to them and others in the community to stop the practice of child marriage and also cooperate to bring back the victims.
He said he was alarmed when it was reported to him that 14 girls of his community basic school did not report when school resumed.
“If we sit aloof and allow such an unfortunate practice to go on, our girls will have no future and we as parents will suffer the consequences,” the Tampaala chief said.
Naa Bondegbee said Jirapa was fast gaining notoriety in the child marriage practice.
He said only a drastic measure would be able to control the practice and expressed commitment in doing so.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Daniel Nartey, the Jirapa District Police Commander said lack of cooperation from parents was making it difficult to fight the practice in the district.
Mr George Dery, ActionAid Ghana Regional Programmes Officer in an interview with the media said statistics showed that the prevalence rate of child marriage in the region was quite high.
He said ActionAid had waged a war against the practice in the region, adding that in 2014 ActionAid collaborated with the Canadian High Commission to fight marriage by abduction, which was a form of child marriage.
Mr. Dery said in 2015/2016, ActionAid again collaborated with UNICEF to undertake extensive sensitisation of chiefs and community members to be aware of the practice and also empower the girl-child to resist abduction.
He said the girls were also taught certain symptoms that could lead to abduction and how they could report cases to the community based anti-violence teams that were formed for them to relay the information to the police for action.
Mr. Dery noted that despite these efforts, the issues of child marriage still continued to persist in communities such as Tampaala which called for drastic measures by the chief of the community.
He said ActionAid would continue to give the stakeholders the necessary support through capacity building for them to continue to be campaigners against child marriage in their communities and beyond. GNA