HRH Nabil Mbombo Njoya, the new Sultan of Bamoun in Cameroon, has turned down marriage proposals from 14-year-old virgins, as custom requires.
To end ancient procedures known as “Lah-Kam,” the wife of a new Sultan must come from the Njim Monchouh dynasty, according to legend.
Sultan Njoya, on the other hand, declined the 14-year-old girl supplied by the family since she is a child and instead married his long-term girlfriend.
He has, however, vowed to send the daughter to school, graduate university, and follow any vocational path of her choice.
Child marriage has been practiced in several African countries for many years. Despite this legal framework, the rate of child marriage in Ghana remains high, with one in every five girls marrying before the age of 18 (20.7 percent) and one in every twenty girls (4.9 percent) marrying before the age of 15.
Although males can be married as children, the incidence is substantially lower: just 2.3 percent of men aged 20 to 24 years are married by the age of 18 in Ghana.
The three Northern areas of Ghana have the greatest frequency of child marriage, with more than one in every three females marrying before the age of 18.
Furthermore, the rate of child marriage is greater in rural regions, among the poorest people, and among illiterate women.
The aggregate rate of marriage before the age of 18 has been declining since the 1990s, falling from 35% in the 1990s to 28% in 2003 and 25% in 2008, but remaining steady between 2011 and 2014.
However, data from the most recent two nationally representative surveys show that the rate of child marriage increased in the three Northern regions (from 26.4 percent in 2011 to 33.6 percent in 2014) while decreasing in the other regions (from 20.9 to 18.5 percent in the Central and Southern regions, respectively), widening the gap between the North and the rest of the country.
Several human rights advocates and stakeholders have been working hard to end the practice of child marriage and enable children to attend education until they are ready to marry.