Speaker Summons Gender Minister …In matter of 4-yr-old defilement victim

Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, has directed Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to report to the House in two weeks, the status of a defilement case in which the victim is a 4-year-old child.

The Speaker stressed that Parliament is interested to know the status and progress of the case to ensure it is pursued to its logical conclusion.

Hon. Mike Oquaye gave the directive when the Minister, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba appeared before the House to respond to parliamentary questions.

According to him, Parliament takes very serious view of the matter and noted that many young girls are defiled and women raped but when investigation are being carried out, people he referred to as ‘jantua experts,’ and who hold positions of influence and respect intervene to kill the case.

He stressed that this case is a felony, which is more serious and urged the Minister to ensure the matter is pursued to its end.

“I request you to return to this House in two weeks to assure us you are personally following this matter to set an example. And to ensure there are no private and personal interventions to kill the case or settle it behind closed doors.”

He noted that per the laws of Ghana, felony cannot be settled out of court and stressed that no priest or chief should attempt to resolve the matter through traditional channels.

“The case must go to the courts and Parliament would want to see the conclusion of the matter.”

The Minister indicated that the victim and the family have been offered support while the offender is currently on remand while the case is being heard at the court.

She indicated that in October 2017, a JHS pupil at Assin Dadietem in the Central Region allegedly defiled a baby while the mother and father were not home.

Hon. Otiko Djaba disclosed that the child was rushed to the Assin Manso Clinic and then to the St. Francis Xavier Hospital Assin Fosu where she was admitted and treated.

The family of the victim, she said, was relocated to a shelter for treatment of the child to continue but have now been returned to their home.

She revealed that to create awareness on domestic violence in the community, the Ministry marked the annual 16 days of activism and liberation in the area to educate parents and guardians on the need to prevent domestic violence.

She stated that the Ministry has also scheduled a programme this year on domestic violence and added that one was held in Pusiga in Upper East under the theme zero-tolerance for Female Genitel Mutilation (FGM).

According to her, the Ministry has initiated a grassroots programme to ensure all ten regions and districts of the country are sensitized on gender-based violence and their repercussion for society.

The Minister indicated that parental neglect is a worrying phenomenon in Ghana therefore the Gender Ministry is putting a system in place to make it mandatory for communities to offer platforms to caregivers to educate the public.

She argued that it is important as a nation to make awareness more solemn for people to understand the punishment that comes with such offenses and the fact the stigma is attached to the victim for life and to also understand the psychological framework of anybody who would defile a little child.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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