Bright Appiah, Executive Director of Child Rights International, has detailed why his organization decided to lodge a complaint at the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service over the nude photos of Actress Akuapem Poloo and her seven-year-old son.
Speaking on Okay FM monitored by GhanaWeb, Appiah indicated that at the time of reporting the Actress to the CID, their interest was not of the nudity of Akuapem Poloo but the son.
He said, in a letter that was addressed to the Director of CID, it was “purposely the involvement of the son”.
Narrating why Child Rights International took that action, the Executive Director noted that in the morning of June 30, 2020, Akuapem Poloo posted a nude photo of herself and a semi-nude photo of her son on her social media page and people had already engaged him as to what action Child Rights International will be taking regarding the said photos.
“When I got to the office that morning, there were a lot of people who were calling and sending us messages complaining about the act of the actress on social media, so we decided to go and look at the said photograph and study.
“We went there but my interest was to read the comments beneath the photo and most of the comments were not palatable at all and based on the involvement of her son, we also developed an interest. So, we wrote a letter to the Director of CID that morning complaining to him that we have seen on social media and as a Child Rights organization, we think that the integrity and privacy of the child have been undermined, therefore, the CID should investigate the circumstances surrounding the photograph and apply the law where necessary,” Bright Appiah said.
He added that the Director-General of CID subsequently forwarded the matter to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) for the matter to be handled at that level.
“Our duty as an organization is to protect children and so, no matter what people do or say, any matter that involves a child, no matter who you are, we will deal with you according to [the] law. That’s what drives all of us,” Appiah noted.
He further explained that, when the matter got to DOVVSU, he tried to follow up until DOVVSU assured Child Rights International that they will pursue the matter.
When asked if that implies that his organization, Child Rights International, is the complainant in the case, Bright Appiah said, “yes, we were the complainant and that is where our work ended”.
“The reason why we reported Akuapem Poloo was not because she was nude but to take an action in the presence of the seven-year-old child, that is what developed our interest…one of the duties every citizen owns when it comes to child welfare is that, when a child is being abused, as a citizen, you have every right to report the child to the appropriate institution for action.
“And if you even fail to report abuse against a child to the appropriate institutions and the law finds you culpable as a witness to the abuse and you failed to act, even that, you as the witness have committed an offence against the child. So, actions relating to every child is the responsibility of every citizen of this country to take,” he stressed.
Bright Appiah noted that “nakedness before a child doesn’t mean one being completely naked but there are certain benchmarks that show that once you do that, you are naked…clearly being naked is very relative but when it comes to children, a little exposure towards the child that will corrupt the mind of the child or will not be in the best interest of the child will be classified as such. That is why we petitioned the police that they should investigate and establish whether or not the conduct of the woman amounts to an abuse of the child because we have stated our position.”
He indicated that his organization cited only the children’s Act in their petition to the police but looking at her charge, it implies “those other laws came to play…clearly there was enough justification to her case but we [Child Rights International] did not conclude that this qualifies for nudity but we just reported the matter. The interpretation of what constitutes nudity lies in the bosom of the judge to determine.”
Bright Appiah advised parents that they should be mindful of how they treat their children because they are protected by law.