NGO tasks Nigeria on policy to empower Widows
By: Hudu Yakubu Abuja
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, has called on the Nigerian government to ensure the rights of widows are enshrined in international law.
The President of the Foundation based in Abuja, Dr Jumai Ahmadu made this known in her message to 370 widows undergoing numerous skills acquisition programmes to commemorate the International Widows’ Day in Abuja.
Dr Ahmadu called on relevant authorities to take the plight of Widows seriously as they may be passing through hardships of different kinds.
She also urged relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Dr Ahmadu said “part of her contribution to the lives of the widows is to empower 370 of them in other to enhance their livelihoods and improve their confidence to face the future with their children.”
The Programme Coordinator, Mr Onoja Arome, urged widows to remain calm and law abiding, saying a careful approach should be maintained when clamouring for their rights with late husband’s properties as laws are available to women in such circumstances.
According to her, “Widows are among other groups in the society that are most marginalized, denied access to common patrimonies of their husbands, social and sexual abuse in some instances and most experiences violence against women.
“The widowhood circumstances is an emergence never wished for by any woman with a sane mind but the conditions beyond our natural ability, seems to permit such an unwarranted situation… Many of the widows we see today would wish to have their spouse back if God permits but this is an impossible thing and that is why we try by all means that widows are given this yearly treatment, to continue to have a taste of what it feels like to have people around an individual who has lost so much. A husband is so much to lose.”
“We therefore call the attention of all relevant authorities to take the plight of this group of people seriously as they may be passing through hardship of different kinds. We must raise platforms for “Sustainable solutions for widows’ financial independence’’ as this year’s theme implies.
“The problems of widows are not far-fetched as these conditions are particular with developing countries, they are: Poverty, Violence, Health related issues and Conflict related issues to mention just four.
“The aforementioned problems are evident in the daily lives of widows in any developing country in the world and Nigeria has a worst-case scenario,”she stressed.
Earlier, the Cluster group Coordinator, Miss Cecilia Kadiri, enjoined the women to make judicious use of the opportunity to fend for themselves and their children.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ifeoma Onuora expressed gratitude to the organiser of the programme, saying, “I have put to use the knowledge I acquire here…I have started baking, what I need now is a small grant to take off”
Another beneficiary, Evang. Flora Abuh who learnt fashion designer said” the cloth am wearing were made by me. I can now make clothes for customers.”