63-Yr-Old Priest Faces Heat For Marrying 12-Yr-Old Girl In Ghana

New Delhi: Incidents of child marriage has declined in the last few decades. But it’s still prevalent in some countries.

The legal age for marriage in Ghana is 18 years.

But a recent case of under-age marriage, that too, involving a 63-year-old priest, has sparked outrage in the African country.

Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, a spiritual leader from Ghanaian capital Accra, tied the knot with an unidentified 12-year-old girl in a huge traditional ceremony on Saturday, reported BBC.

Pictures of the wedding ceremony, which was attended by scores of community members, were widely shared on social media.

The young girl wore a simple white dress and a matching headpiece. Women speaking in local language were heard telling the minor bride to dress teasingly for her husband.

They also advised the young girl to be prepared for wifely duties and to use the perfumes they gifted her to boost her appeal to her husband, according to BBC.

Tsuru, known as a ‘Gborbu Wulomo’, or traditional high priest, wields significant spiritual authority in the Nungua indigenous community.

As the photographs went viral, hundreds of Ghanaians slammed Tsuru, pointing out that the practice was illegal.

Many called the authorities to dissolve the marriage and investigate the priest.

The stinging criticism nowithstanding, the priest found some support also with a few community leaders defending the union and saying that the girl’s role as the priest’s wife is “purely tradition and custom.”

One community leader explained that the girl commenced required rituals to become the priest’s wife at the age of six, but this process did not hinder her education.

However, police have identified and tracked down the girl, who is now under their protection, along with her mother.

There has been no response on the incident from Ghanaian government.

According to Girls Not Brides, a global NGO, a significant percentage of girls in Ghana get married before reaching adulthood.

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