President bemoans child marriage at 7th Africa Conference on Sexual and Healthy Right

President bemoans child marriage at 7th Africa Conference on Sexual and Healthy Right

- President Mahama has addressed the 7th Africa Conference on Sexual and Healthy Right in Accra

- The President condemned the phenomenon of child marriages in Ghana

- He urged School authorities to be on the lookout and  ring the alarm bells by alerting the authorities as early as possible when such issues cropped up

- Mahama said If his daughter is below 18 and somebody attempted to marry her off,  he probably will commit murder

- Ghana is said to have one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world

President bemoans child marriage at 7th Africa Conference on Sexual and Healthy Right

President John Dramani Mahama said on Wednesday that he would commit murder and go to prison if anybody attempted to marry off his underage daughter.

The President was speaking at the 7th Africa Conference on Sexual and Healthy Right in Accra where he condemned the phenomenon of child marriages in Ghana.

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The President said it was unfortunate that such practices continued to thrive in Africa.

He noted that since there was the tendency for relatives, especially family members to keep quiet when their underage children were married off, there was the need for systems to be put in place that will alert the authorities for action to be taken, when such backward measures are taken against any girl.

President Mahama said:“There is a culture of silence amongst relatives; often when a child is withdrawn from school or married off into a force marriage, we need to establish systems that alert the authorities.

He urged School authorities to be on the lookout. “If a girl stops coming to school, ring the alarm bells, try and find out where the child is and alert the authorities as early as possible so that we can prevent them from being married off,” he stated.

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He continued: “I, even as a man won’t want to marry a woman I don’t love not to talk about a woman. Why should you be forced to marry somebody you have no affection for, and especially a child. If my daughter is below 18 and somebody attempted to marry her off, I probably will be in prison; I will commit murder”.

About one out of four girls are believed to marry before their 18th birthday in Ghana which is said to have one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world.

The latest Ghana Demographic Health Survey in 2008 indicated that about 25% of women aged 20-24 were married or were in union before age 18 years.

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