02.05.2005 Regional News

Mfantseman Assembly and Chiefs to check parental irresponsibility

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Srafa Aboano (C/R), May 2, GNA - The Mfantseman District Assembly and traditional authorities in the area are to enact by-laws to punish fathers who shirk their parental responsibility and men who refuse pregnancy.

Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur, District Chief Executive (DCE) disclosed this to GNA at Ekumfi Srafa Aboano at a ceremony to re-unite trafficked children with their parents.

Mr. Quainoo-Arthur blamed child trafficking on irresponsible men and advised women to take family planning seriously to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and having the number of children they could cater for.

Eighty-nine children who were trafficked for fishing expedition on the Volta lake especially around Yeji in the Brong Ahafo, in exchange for the payment of between 200,000 cedis and one million cedis to their parents.

The children between the ages of five years and 18 years were made to do hazardous work and denied formal education and access to health facilities.

The Yeji trafficked children project of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a non-governmental organisation rescued the children, prepared them psychologically, physically and mentally for about three months before handing them over to their parents.

The IOM also provided loans to enable their parents to embark on income generating activities to support the children. The organisation also provided books, stationery and uniforms for the children and paid their school fees for two years. Mr Joseph Rispoli, Project Manager, said IOM in September 2003 handed over 68 children rescued from Yeji to their parents from some communities in the District.

Mr. George Kuntu Blankson, MP for Mfantseman West, reminded parents that children were the gift of God given to them for safekeeping for which they would account for at a later date.

Mrs. Matilda Bannerman-Mensah, District Director of Education advised parents to cut down their expenditure on clothing, drinks and other social activities and to invest in the education of their children.

Speakers at the ceremony included Nana Nyeiku v, Chief of Srafa Aboano, Mr Osmond Amonoo, District Social Welfare Officer, Mr Patrick Yeboah, District Crime Officer of the Police Service, and Mrs Juliana Brown, Central Regional Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana PPAG Project Coordinator.

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