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Mr Rockson Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister, has called on traditional and religious leaders to work assiduously towards ending child and forced marriages in the region.

The region is now the third highest in child marriages in the country, after the Northern and Upper West Regions.
The Minister said this at a stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Department of Gender and Children and sponsored by UNICEF.

He said religious and traditional leaders were the custodians of the people and had the power to stop the canker of child and forced marriages.

Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, the Regional Director of the department of Children, said a research conducted by the Ghana Education Service last year in the District, showed that 27 primary school girls became pregnant during the2015/2016 academic year while 20 candidates of the BECE were also pregnant during the same period.

Mrs Aberese-Ako said sexual abuse, parental neglect, child trafficking and child begging were among some of the problems children in the region face and reiterated the need for parents to play responsible roles in the upbringing of their children.

Mr James Twene, the Acting Regional Director of the Department of Gender, said UNICEF was supporting his outfit to implement the fight against the child marriage project in the two Kassena- Nankana Districts, the Talensi and Builsa North Districts.

Mrs Elizabeth Akolgo , the Gender Desk Office of the Talensi District, said her outfit would collaborate with all the stakeholders to ensure that the canker was eliminated.

Based on the prevailing statistics the chiefs, traditional leaders, Queen Mothers and opinion leaders agreed to form District Child Protection Committees to fight the canker.

Nubil Pelig Kusoah Yebig, the Chief of Datuuk, expressed worry about the statistics of child marriages and teenage pregnancies in the region and tasked all his sub chiefs and form committees to tackle the phenomenon.