Apac District Council has passed a by-law to curb the rising cases of teenage pregnancies and child marriage in the district.
The ordinance passed on November Monday calls for punitive action against defilers and irresponsible parents.
The Law criminalizes presiding over any child marriage ceremony and denying children access to education in the district.
According to the ordinance codenamed “Prohibition of Child Marriage 2021”, offenders will now face up to six months in jail or a fine of 20 currency points.
Moses Adoko Okello, the directly elected LCV councilor for Agulu division is hopeful that if fully implemented, the ordinance will go a long way in reducing poverty arising from early marriage.
Akokoro sub-county male councilor Denis Tyang says that there is a need to sensitize the community on this Law for effective implementation.
Meanwhile Denis Eluk, the Apoi sub-county LCV councilor appealed for cooperation from different stakeholders for effective implementation of this Law.
Oscar Okello, the Community Development Facilitator at Lango Child and Community Development Federation-LACODEFF believes the by-law will improve school retention rates, especially among the girls.
He said the sub-region has been stepping up efforts to fight child marriage in vain due to weaker laws and policies.
Since the first coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in March last year, over 1,400 girls between the ages of 10 to 18 conceived while others married off in Apac district, according to statistics released by the district probation officer Innocent Abongo.