child marriage
child marriage

Madam Paulina Patience Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister, has called on stakeholders in the gender sector to champion the cause to end child marriages in the region.

She said the occurrence is becoming a threat to the development of girls in rural communities where it is high.

Madam Abayage said if the practice is successfully halted, it would give girls the needed confidence to contribute to national development.

She said girl-child abuses such as female genital cutting, early child marriage among others were infringements on the girls’ fundamental human rights.

Madam Abayage, who was speaking at the 31st annual festival of the chiefs and people of the Bawku Traditional Area, said stakeholders including the traditional authorities, religious bodies, government and its gender partners, could spearhead the move at ending the practice.

She said government is working at promoting cultural development by reviewing existing cultural practices and beliefs.

She called on the public to practice good hygiene and avoid open defecation and help prevent diseases such as malaria, typhoid and cholera.

Naba Aburago Asigri Azoka II, Paramount Chief of the Bawku Traditional Area, said the festival is meant to appease the ancestral spirits for their protection and guidance throughout the season.

He said the festival, which started in 1988, is meant to promote love, peace and unity among the people in the area and indicated that it showcased the development plans and projected the culture of the Kusaug people.

Naba Azoka II said the festival is used to discuss and modify some aspects of the culture in the area, sensitize the people against female genital mutilation, review the cost involved in the payment of bride prices and encourage education of the girl-child.

He expressed the hope that government would intervene in promoting the socio-economic activities of the area by resuming work on the Bawku – Bolgatanga road.

Naba Azoka II commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo for the proactive policies he has introduced to improve agriculture production in the Bawku area.

The festival brought together traditional authorities, political leaders and visitors from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Togo.

There was a display of cultural activities including drumming and dancing from various groups, horse riding, war dance among other things.

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