Ghana: Forced Marriage Girls Father Arrested

Ghana: Forced Marriage Girls Father Arrested

The father of the 17-year-old Junior High School student who was to terminate her education and marry tomorrow, has been arrested.

The Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police picked up Muftawu Oman yesterday and placed him in custody. His wife however, managed to escape and is on the run.

The action of the police came 24 hours after the Times exposed the couple in its publication.

The girl (name withheld), is a final year student of the Nasru-Deen Junior High School at Akrom in Kumasi, and will be writing the Basic School Certificate Examination (BECE) next month.

However, the parents had completed arrangement to get her married tomorrow despite her protestations.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Asare Bediako, Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator of the DOVVSU, told the Times that the police would not allow the marriage to take place.

He said the girl’s biological father lives somewhere in Accra and it was not known whether he was aware of the marriage, adding that efforts were being made to arrest the would-be husband who resides at Achiase, near Barekese in Ashanti.

According to ASP Bediako, the girl opposed the decision of her parents about the marriage pleading that they should allow her to complete at least the basic education but they refused.

She gave a sigh of relief when she was brought to the office,” he said.

Earlier, the step-father told the Times that the marriage arrangement started long ago with the consent of the girl so he did not understand why people were making a big deal about it.

ASP Bediako said, after investigations into the matter the step-father and the mother, who is on the run, could be prosecuted.

Mr Joseph Onyinah, Kumasi Metropolitan Director of Education, commended the DOVVSU for foiling the marriage ceremony and gave the assurance that his office would monitor events to ensure that the girl wrote the examinations.

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) earlier kicked against the matter and quoted section 14, sub-section one and two of the Children’s Act 560, that “no one shall force a child to betrothed or be subject of daily transaction to be married”.

Any person who contravenes the provision of the sub-parts it said, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of GH¢500.00 or one year imprisonment or to both.

Inspector Irene Oppong, Public Relations Officer of DOVVSU, also condemned the move and said “it is a crime and whosoever is giving the girl into marriage can be prosecuted”.

Source: The Ghanaian Times – 20 March 2008