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19.07.2005 Regional News

Krobos urged to scrap 'lampoon' custom


Somanya (ER), July 19, GNA- Traditional Authorities in the two Krobo districts have been called upon to use the same fervour that informed their refining of the 'dipo' puberty rite to review other practice such as the 'lampoon' custom that have been found to be inimical to children's welfare.

The Yilo Krobo District Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Miss Ernestina Nartey, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Somanya that the 'lampoon' custom in its current form, will continue to stifle any meaningful effort at promoting children's welfare and encouraging paternal responsibility in the two districts.

The 'lampoon' is a twelve-step marriage custom performed by a suitor before the delivery of a child and men who fail to immediately comply with this invariably later had to offer a restitution of one live sheep, some bottles of schnapps and token money to the women.

However, the practice has taken on new twists and turns whereby some aggrieved women now demand as much as ten million cedis before allowing the customs to be performed and men who cannot cough up such huge sums just refuse to provide for their wards' needs, Miss Nartey revealed.

"We now have two extremes: either the men are not willing to maintain their children or the women are demanding too much and either of these affects the child's welfare", she added.

She said a review of the custom by the Yilo and Manya Krobo Traditional Councils in concert with child related agencies operating in the area, would be a major breakthrough in curbing juvenile delinquency and problems of school drop-outs.

Miss Nartey spoke of incidents of some JSS girls in the area being impregnated by some unscrupulous men who entice them with money and a guarantee of marriage but after impregnating them turn round to seek solace in the 'lampoon', thereby perpetuating a cycle of poverty in the area.

The implication of the customs, Miss Nartey explained "was that the lack of recognition of the child meant that the child has no title to the property of the father even if that child is the only that survived the father."

Miss Nartey condemned the situation where some men in highly responsible public positions refuse to take care of their children's needs, noting that such actions should not be tolerated by the society because they are an affront to the rights of children.