By Murtala Issah
Some residents of Northern Ghana have expressed their displeasure over claims that “girls in the area, who cannot afford to buy sanitary pads, use clay as an alternative during menstruation. The aggrieved persons are demanding an immediate retraction and apology from Rita Etornam Sey, who made the claim on some media platforms on Friday, May 26, 2023, as part of activities marking World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
While granting interviews on the GTV breakfast show and TV3, Etornam said, “I tell myself I have seen poverty until I went to the North, the girls use clay as substitute for sanitary pads.”
Her comments have since drawn the ire of many Ghanaians, including former Upper East Regional Minister Tangoba Abayage, who took to her Facebook page to call Etornam a “liar”.
“TV3 Ghana, GTV Ghana, 3FM Rita Etornam Sey lied on your station when she said girls in northern Ghana use clay as sanitary pads. I’ll be back,” Madam Tangoba wrote on her Facebook page.
The Director of Communications at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Abdul Hayi Moomen, wrote, “Rita Etornam Sey should be told that SOME Northern women may be poor; they may even be uneducated and sometimes even subjugated.
Please tell her that in her haste to impress her donors, she should remember to slow down and not denigrate others.”
Mr. Moomen added in a comment section that “she has to retract and apologise. Otherwise, we will continue to post and post and post until all the clay in the North is finished”.
GBC News has also been speaking to some residents of Tamale, most of whom have expressed shock at the statement, with one resident asking, “how is it done?”
Many are those who have called on Etornam to render an unqualified apology to all persons of Northern extraction. These persons are of the view that her statement is factually inaccurate and has the unfortunate potential of deepening the already negative stereotypes that exist against persons from Northern Ghana.