The chief of Dingoni, a farming community in the Tolon district, Mr Samson Nina Yakubu has called on government, paramount chiefs and family heads in the the Tolon district to support the fight against early child marriage in their communities.
Their intervention, the chief observed, will add a further impetus to the fight against the issue which is prevalent in most remote communities where school going age girls below 18 years are given away in marriage.
He was speaking at a stakeholders meeting with parents and school girls at Tolon. The meeting organized by NORSAAC’s project dubbed ‘Let the Girls Smile say no to child marriage’ piloted in 2015. The project is focusing on two districts namely Tolon and Mion where the problem is said to be escalating.
According to the chief, early child marriage menace, especially among school girls in the area, needs some governmental intervention accompanied by strict enforcement of the law against parents perpetrating such acts.
He pointed to parents’ ignorance about the health dangers —troubled pregnancies — associated with teenagers marrying older men as the major challenge. Some parents, he noted, need to be educated on the implications —marital problems —- of marrying their children early
Chief Nina who is a sub chief in the Tolon traditional area appealed to paramount Chiefs to speak out strongly against the practice; he also suggested the application of punitive measures for perpetrators of early child marriage.
Narrating his side of the unfortunate incidence of early child marriage in his area, the chief recountered how a teenage girl was subjected to beating by her parents resulting in a damage to her eye she refused to be married to their preferred man.
Eventually, the girl has to flee the community to Kumasi for a head porter job popularly called Kayaye, the chief added. Some of the girls’ behavior, the chief said, compel their parents to marry them off against their will. He explained that, some girls refuse going to school thus angering their parents who have no option but to give them out for marriage.
Health personnel at the meeting reminded parents that early child marriages expose girls to a variety of problems including sickness, miscarriages, rapture of the uterus during labour, potentially leading to death.