Network expresses worry about spate of street children in Upper East
The Upper East branch of the Child Protection Network (CPN), has expressed worry about the spate of street children in the Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs.
Many of the street children, who are supposed to be in school, are being “used” by traders to do menial jobs such as selling of food items including selling of sachet water.
The situation is worse at the night as many of them remain in the streets and sleep on pavements and verandas of shops.
They also watch adults movies like pornographic and war films, which had the tendency of influencing them negatively.
This came to light when members of the Upper East CPN met the Regional Chairman of the Ghana Private and Transport Union (GPRTU), Mr Godfred Abolbire, Station Managers including traders to deliberate on how they could curb the trend.
Despite the numerous interventions undertaken by Afrikids Ghana, a child right NGO to curb the menace, the situation keeps on blowing out of proportion.
Mr Pontius Pilate Apaabey Baba, the Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), who is the convener of the CPN said, every child mattered and must be taken care off.
He noted the CPN could not fight the menace alone and appealed to the GPRTU, parents, chiefs, district assemblies and the media to collaborate with the CPN to deal with the problem.
He attributed the problem to poverty, ignorant and parental neglect and peer influence and said the CPN would embark upon sustainable programmes involving traditional authorities, parents, opinion leaders, the Assemblies, GPRTU, the Police among others to see how the problem could be solved.
The occasion was also used to discuss child trafficking and school children below the age of 18 travelling unaccompanied during vacation periods to the southern parts of the country to do menial jobs for a living.
Mr Ania David, the Regional Organizer of the CPN, said under the law it was wrong for parents to allow children under that age of 18 to travel unaccompanied and said the situation was very worse in the Bolgatanga, Zorko, Bongo, Sumbrungu and Pelingu areas.
“Children are our future leaders. The Assembly has the mandate to stop this canker particularly stopping Video Shop operators, who operate at late hours in the night on the streets, allowing children to watch negative films”.
Mr Godfred Abolbire, the GPRTU Chairman, said last year his outfit and the Police mounted check at barriers and managed to stop a lot of school children, who were below the age of 18 and were traveling unaccompanied to the southern parts of the country.
“We will not want to repeat this, this time. A committee had been set up to stop the practice. I have also warned the various station managers and chairmen to desist from allowing children under age to travel to unaccompanied”.
He said some of the children now resorted to tricks such as travelling to Walewale and Tamale before embarking on the remaining of their journey to the southern parts of the country.
Mrs Geogina Abere-Ako, the Regional Treasurer in charge of the CPN, impressed upon NGOs and other microfinance institutions to go into partnership with viable business women and men in the region so that they could engage school children, who are not underage during vacation periods instead of allowing them to travel to the southern parts where most them fall prey to unfortunate circumstances.
UNICEF is supporting the CPN in the Upper East Region to deal with issues affecting the growth and development of children.