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Alleged child marriage: Social Welfare says decision to release girl to parents was in her best interest in furthering her education

Attorney General orders the release of Naa Okromo to family

The Attorney-General’s Office has advised that Naa Okromo, the girl allegedly married to a 63-year-old Gborbu Wulomo of Nungua in the Greater Accra Region, should be released to the family after the parents had signed a bond.

The signing of the bond is to ensure that the parents observe the child protection laws and protocols while she is in their custody.

At an emergency press briefing in Accra on Thursday, to update the media on its investigations, Madam Dakoa Newman, the Minister designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, said after the Ministry’s investigations, it came out that the girl was 15 years old, and born on 18th July 2008.

She said the Social Welfare Department had taken the girl through counselling while medical assessment conducted on her showed that she was not pregnant, was still a virgin and had no emergency health concerns.

The Minister said the decision to release the girl to the parents was in her best interest to enable her to continue her education.

It was also in accordance with Section (2) and (5) of the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Alfred Tua-Yeboah, the Deputy Attorney General, said the Attorney-General’s Office had taken full delivery of the docket regarding the matter, and instructed its officers to review it to ascertain whether, indeed, there was marriage and any cause for prosecution.

On March 30, 2024, a viral video surfaced on social media showing an alleged marriage ceremony between a 63-year-old Gborbu Wulomo, Nuumo Borketey Laweh XXXIII and a 12-year-old girl, Naa Okromo in Nungua.

This sparked a public condemnation of the alleged marriage by the public and some civil society organisations calling for the prosecution of the chief and his elders.

They believed that the act by the Gborbu Wulomo had violated the girl’s human rights and dignity while the country’s child protection laws and international conventions frown on abuse of children’s rights in terms of child marriage.

Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, said its investigations revealed that there was no marriage between Naa Okromo and the Gborbu Wulomo.

He said the ceremony that took place on March 30, 2024, was just a ritual to elevate Naa Okromo to the status of a Queen Mother.

In answering questions from journalists on whether some of the country’s customs and traditions should be reviewed, the Chieftaincy Minister admitted that some of the customs and traditions should be reformed to be in line with the nation’s laws.

Source: GNA

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