Children in Osu between the ages of five and 15 risk being arrested and their parents fined if they are found loitering in town after 9p.m., the Osu Traditional Council has warned.
The Osu Mantse, Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona, told The Mirror that the council was working with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to develop a by-law to give the decision a legal teeth.
Nii Dowuona said the council would begin the implementation of the by-law before the close of the year.
“We are doing a lot of consultations and engaging our youth who will enforce it. There will be a task force in place and we will be working with the security agencies and social welfare.
“The management of the various School Management Committees are anxious for it to take off because it will turn around the fortunes of this community,” he explained.
He said the move had become necessary to address the falling standards of education in the area which is famous for its Oxford Street, arguably Accra’s biggest entertainment hub.
According to the Osu Mantse, the attractions of night life in the community was so appealing that increasingly, schoolchildren abandoned their books and spent hours outside.
The Mirror also observed during a night’s drive through the township that most of the children gathered around drinking spots, betting centres and food joints to enjoy themselves while others spent the night helping their parents to sell food.
A 15-year-old girl who only gave her name as Diana was one of the many children at Osu at 8p.m. She helps her mother to sell kenkey on the Oxford Street and helps in washing and serving customers until about 11p.m. before she goes home to sleep.
She said she dropped out of school twice because she was always tired; but she could not stop helping her mother, a single parent.
“My mother always encouraged me to go to school. She said I need it in order not to be like her,” she said while emptying a plate of corn leaves into a basket.
In the case of Mike Ayebeng, who was dancing the night away at a popular spot called Container, he said he had finished his school assignment but was bored at home, so he just came out to have some fun, adding that he usually came close to the spot to dance with his friends on some nights.
Nii Dowuona, however, observed that it was important for parents to keep their children at home after 9p.m. to allow them enough rest, as well as prepare for the next day at school.
“We want to ensure that the children stay in school. Going to school is not only the teacher’s responsibility. It is for parents and the community as well, so we are not sitting down to allow this to continue.
“The best legacy we can leave our children is good and sound education and I don’t think allowing our children to loiter in town when they can be doing their homework or reading something useful is the way to do it,” he said.