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Group wants zero maltreatment day for widows

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The founder of Felix King Foundation, Dr. Felix King, pop star, Harrison Tare Okiri, popularly known as Harry Song, rapper MI Abaga, internet sensation, Charles Okocha aka Igwe Tupac, and comedian Bayegun Oluwatoyin, popularly known as Woli Arole, among others have called on the United Nations (UN) to declare June 23 Zero Maltreatment Day for Widows instead of the International Widows Day.

This year’s global theme, celebrating the day was ‘Developing resources and policies to empower widows’. It has been estimated that there are some 258 million widows around the world, with over 115 million of them living in deep poverty. Beyond the mere celebration of this day, the foundation held rallies simultaneously across the world – Nigeria, Ghana, United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom.

According to King, “the widows’ rights movement is a Felix King Foundation’s organised international movement campaigning for the abolishment of widows maltreatment, while advocating for United Nations (UN) declaration of June 23rd, as a zero maltreatment day for widows in countries with traditional societies where women suffer human rights violations.

“Widows are often evicted from their homes and physically abused – some even killed –by members of their own family. In many countries, a woman’s social status is inextricably linked to her husband’s, so that when her husband dies, a woman no longer has a place in society. To regain social status, widows are expected to marry one of their husband’s male relatives, sometimes unwillingly. For many, the loss of a husband is only the first trauma in a long-term ordeal,” he said.

Speaking on how widows can be liberated from discrimination, he said: “The ultimate goal of the zero maltreatment day for widows is to develop resources and policy to empower widows and allow them have access to education, work, healthcare and live free of violence and abuse, while creating a life for themselves and their children following the death of their husband and ending a cycle of poverty and abuse.”

Harry Song, who performed at the event, said widow’s maltreatment in Nigeria and Africa at large should be outlawed. “I vehemently speak against this obnoxious practice in our society. The practice is widespread in developing countries and the appropriate authorities should move to end it because maltreating our women, mother, daughters and sisters amounts to drawing ourselves backwards,” he stated.


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