A chief in Ghana has been given a two-day ultimatum to produce a 17-year-old boy he had banished for stealing.
Nana Poku Antoh III, Paramount Chief of Tutukpene in the Oti Region, could face criminal charges if he fails to produce the teenager, the Ghana Police Service at Nkwanta South Municipality has said.
The lad, a primary six pupil of the Tutukpene Municipal Assembly Basic School, was on Friday, April 24, allegedly caught breaking into a room, and was banished by the Chief and his elders.
Superintendent Lawson Lartey, the Municipal Police Commander of the Oti Region, summoned the community leadership over the matter and said failure to produce the boy would land them in the grips of the Law.
The Commander condemned the action of the community, saying the practice of banishment was not covered by Law and was an abusive act, the Ghana News Agency reported.
Mr Lartey advised that traditional leaders worked more with State structures in fighting crime, and asked that they aligned customs and traditions to fundamental human rights.
The Chief is said to have prohibited anyone from tracing the boy, with his family expressing fear of losing him to hunger and disease.
“My son can die of hunger or be affected by this Coronavirus”, Afua Amoah, mother of the boy said, and appealed to the public to help find him.
Ghanaian traditional leaders adopt disciplinary measures for the citizens who violate the laws of the land. These disciplinary measures are embodied in the traditional penal system.
Banishment is a punishment under the traditional penal system which is imposed on an offender usually by a community.
The offender is forced to remain outside of that community until otherwise. It is also known as exile or deportation.
It must be noted that this form of punishment by the traditional penal system is not common in Ghana in recent times as the law says it is an abuse of the fundamental human rights of victims.
Source: Daily Mail GH