Speaking in the Well of Parliament, Hon. Alice Jebbeh Kumabeh, representing Constituency 92 in Bonthe District said the increase in teenage pregnancy across the country is not new. She went on to state that although certain measures have been put in place by the relevant authorities to curb this menace, it still prevails.
She said: “I am calling on the ministers of Education, Health and Water Resources to vigorously implement laws that protect the right of children and prevents them from early pregnancy. I am saying this because these are all contributing factors which result in our girls getting impregnated fetching water at odd hours when they should be at home reading their books.”
She added that the lack of adequate water supply in most district headquarter towns and big cities in provincial areas and in Freetown contributes to the high incidence of teenage pregnancy.
She said: “In Mattru Jong, which has the highest population in Bonthe District, we do not have adequate water supply. The other towns are mining areas and these areas have grown into bigger towns and therefore need more attention. She noted that school children travel for almost four to five miles to reach nearby schools, adding that unscrupulous men could take advantage of girls using the route to get to school.
She explained that the previous government enacted the Sexual Offences Act 2012 but failed to implement it thoroughly. She lamented that there is no resident magistrate in some major towns in the district, which leads to sexual offences being compromised by perpetrators, leaving such matter unresolved or unjustly arbitrated.”
She maintained that lapses in concluding sexual abuse cases were numerous, noting that perpetrators should be held responsible for their behavior. She stated that some girls are impregnated by their teachers, who go unpunished in the name of ‘fighting shame for the school’ and leaving the girls taking the blame.
“There are education laws that are set aside to address such issues and I am urging the minister responsible to address this issue immediately,” she said and called on the Ministry of Water Resources to work towards supplying water in big cities and towns as the lack of water contributes to high rate of teenage pregnancy.