Ayade’s wife tasks Nigerians, others on International Widows Day

mr & mrs Ayade

mr & mrs Ayade

THE wife of the Governor and First Lady of Cross River State, Dr. Linda Ayade, has at a press conference spoken about the hopes and aspirations of widows and her husband’s government’s desire to lift them.

It was to mark International Widows Day which takes place every year on 23rd June. The day was initially launched by the Loomba Foundation at the House of Lords in London in 2005. The date was chosen because on this day, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, Lord Loomba’s mother and the inspiration for the Foundation, became a widow.

Mrs. Ayade, in a speech entitled, “We Can Make A Difference,” that was presented by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Omotunde Ivara Esu, said: “As I reflected on the International Widows Day of 2015, my mind went to a passage of the Bible that suggested that religion is only true when the religious person can respond to the needs of other people in a meaningful and practical way rather than merely telling them ‘God bless you’, G in peace’ or claiming to be focusing only on God who cannot be seen! Another passage says that the one who is not able to provide for the needy of his household is ‘worse than an infidel’.

(James 2:15-17; 1 Timothy 5: 8) “I use this opportunity of the celebration of the International Widows Day to call on all members of society to shun attitudes, beliefs and cultural practices that bring pain to Widows and their children.

The discriminatory patriarchal system in our society that violate the right of Widows to inherit the estate of her husband in the event of his death is a good example of such evil practices. “The good men of Cross River State should combat this by encouraging their wives to study and to work so that they can also contribute to the family and have their own means of sustainable livelihood.

The men should endeavor to write their wills and clearly indicate their wives as next – of -kin and beneficiaries of their estates in order to protect the people they have loved during their lifetime from becoming stranded in the event of their deaths.

“Sadly, we still hear of communities that totally ignore the grreiving woman’s pain and loss. Instead, she is accused of being responsible for the death of her own husband, and is therefore further subjected to gross emotional torture.

In some of these communities, such women are put through unimaginable conditions like; being compelled to drink concoctions or they are even confined to a room with the dead body to prove their innocence. Such injustice meted out to Widows can only lead to health challenges, depression, loss of self worth, poorer living conditions and a reduction in life span.

Of course, there aftereffects are interpreted as a punishment from the gods! “Our traditional rulers, being the custodians of our cultural heritage, should shun superstition; they should never allow culture to be the excuse for backwardness and insensitivity to the plight of the widow and her children, rather they must endeavor to review those retrograde I’ve cultural practices and customary laws that are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

They must strive to create more humane, tolerable and accommodating conditions for the widow and her children. “The call for all of us as we mark this day is to become determined to empower our Widows with life skills and tools that will help them become self reliant.

Tailoring, hairdressing, various types of farming, even knowledge of computer use are skills a person can easily learn in order to achieve a level of financial freedom and independence.”

She added: “On the other hand, we can all contribute in whatever small measure to help alleviate the poor plight of the Widows in our society.

The education of her children can be a burden on the woman, and individuals and corporate bodies can key in here to help uplift the burden. I am aware that the government owned primary and secondary schools in our State charge very modest fees.

Individuals that are better placed can ask the question, ‘What dose it cost for a child to go through primary and secondary school in Cross River State today?’ On finding out, we can then decide how we can support these Widows in sponsorship of their children’s education.

We must not wait for Government to do everything for the widow.’’ “Research shows that Widows from 9% -16% of women of child- bearing age.

Though the exact number cannot be ascertained at this time, we know that the population of Widows in Cross River State is quite high- we have a record of over 20, 000 of them formed into cooperative societies already! It is a general societal problem that could affect just anyone irrespective of age, social status and education at ion.

Therefore, the Office of Wife of Governor of Cross River State, and the various relevant ministries will continually render support and the necessary assistance to Widows and their children in order to improve the quality of their lives.

“Finally, I have made a personal commitment to use my position and contacts to help provide social housing and other s men it is to as many ‘true Widows and aged people in Cross River State as possible.

Indeed, this will be one of the pilot programs of my organisation, Mediatrix Development Foundation. While I know that this will be a demanding and capital intensive project considering the cost of housing today, I also know that it is possible and necessary because the right to shelter is foundamental! “With the support of corporate bodies as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, and with International Humanitarian organisations and public spirited individuals, We can make a difference in the lives of widows.”

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