Govt plans empowerment scheme for widows

MTNFOVER 300 widows have been slated to benefit from the zonal empowerment scheme established last year by the Federal Government. The scheme, established in conjunction with MTN Foundation, is set up to provide tools of trade and training to the identified widows to enable them sustain their businesses of choice.

Speaking on an occasion to mark the 2015 International Widows’ Day, which had ‘Widows’ Rights are the Widows’ Might’ as a theme in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, said the Ministry is celebrating the 2015 International Widows day on 23rd June alongside the rest of the world to give special recognition to the situation of widows in line with the United Nations General Assembly Declaration resolution 65/189 mandating states to celebrate in acknowledging the suffering and injustice faced by widows.

His words: “On this note, the General Assembly declared 23rd June as International Widows’ Day, with effect from 2011, to be observed annually. The General Assembly called upon Member States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, within their respective mandates to give special attention to the situation of widows and their children.

“They are an integral part of every society yet, little is known about them and the challenges they face, stressing that they are seldom captured in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, often neglected by laws and development strategies making their situation invisible.”

Oyemomi explained that the population of widows in Nigeria is steadily increasing following the death of their husbands, noting that such women have had to cater for themselves and their families alone sometimes without the appropriate knowledge and skills needed to take over the role that fate had bestowed on them following the trauma of loosing loved ones.

The situation in Nigeria has been aggravated by the recurrent spate of terror attacks purported by some violent groups like Boko Haram, Militants, Inter-Tribal crises in various parts of the country which has somewhat accelerated the population of widows in Nigeria.”

The Permanent Secretary stated that widows in some parts of the country still undergo dehumanizing treatment noting that widowhood practices in Nigeria are generally traumatic and this is a great challenge to integrating widows into national development processes.

He said these brutal widowhood practices by all purposes and intent are contrary to universal and religious injunctions and they are regrettably another aspect of discrimination against women in spite of the growing popularity of the legal principle that ‘women rights are human right’, stressing that with the passing of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act would address all oppressive, injurious and degrading widowhood practices.

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