Minor Girl Married to High Priest in Ghana Taken into Police Protection after Public Outcry

Police are currently investigating the incident, and their prompt response has garnered praise from many locals.

A 12-year-old girl who was married to a 63-year-old high priest has been placed under police protection in Ghana. Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, a spiritual leader in the Nungua area of the capital, Accra, officiated the wedding between the unidentified child and himself in a large ceremony that took place on Saturday.

Footage of the wedding was shared by a local news channel revealing the young girl dressed in a simple white gown and a matching headpiece. During the ceremony, her new "husband" was seen placing a green wreath on her head. The wedding ceremony was attended by several members of the priest's community along with several other people.

Marriage Sparks Public Outcry

Child marriage
The 12-year-old girl seen getting married to a 63-year-old priest X

However, the images from the marriage ceremony sparked widespread public outrage among Ghanaians, who pointed out that the practice was illegal. Police quickly intervened, ensuring that the child was placed under their protection, the BBC reported.

In Ghana, the legal minimum age for marriage is 18, as outlined by law. However, the country has a complex history with the harmful traditional practices, according to the FXB Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.

Child marriage was explicitly criminalized in Ghana as part of the Children's Act of 1998.

UNICEF has reported a decline in the occurrence of child marriage, although it acknowledges challenges in tracking due to the absence of birth certificates in certain areas and the difficulty in verifying a girl's age.

However, recent statistics indicate that Ghana still has one of the highest prevalence rates of child marriage globally, with around one in four girls being coerced into the practice.

Police Taking Necessary Action

Child marriage
The 12-year-old girl getting married to a 63-year-old priest in Ghana X

Police are currently investigating the incident, and their prompt response has garnered praise from many locals. According to Yahoo News, the office of the influential priest has defended the marriage, claiming that it was purely ceremonial.

They also claimed that the girl had been prepared for this role since the age of six, without any disruption to her education, as reported by a local news outlet.

In response to public concerns, the police have attempted to reassure the public by saying that they have reached out to the government's children's minister and the social welfare department to ensure that the 12-year-old receives the necessary support.

However, the video, reportedly showing women telling the girl to dress provocatively for her husband in the local Ga language, has sparked significant concern among many.

Local journalist Zubaida Afua Mabuno Ismail has criticized claims that the marriage will not disrupt the girl's education, highlighting the troubling implications of such practices.

"The argument here isn't about her not being in school, which we've not established yet. We say that SHE'S A CHILD NOT A BRIDE," she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.