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Group empowers widows

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About 170 widows were empowered with trading equipment to support their skills, and help in their quest to earn a living.The group, Widows New Year Feast (WINYEF), organised by the International Women Society (IWS), empowered them as part of their New Year gift.

The event, which held at the Palace of Oba Saheed Elegushi in Ikate-Elegushi area, Lagos State, was attended by widows from different parts of the state. They received items received include pepper grinding machine, refrigerators with drinks, gas burners, generator sets and sewing machines and a host of others.

According to Mrs Olabisi Alokolaro, the items were made possible by generous donations and support by IWS members, individuals and corporate organisations.

Among the dignitaries at the event were the host, Sekinat Elegushi, wife of Eti-Osa Council Chairman, Mrs Fatima Obanikoro, who represented Senator Oluremi Tinubu, and a former Special Adviser to Lagos Governor, Mrs. Chinyere Anokwuru.Anokwuru who was the special guest at the occasion, shared a stirring inspirational talk about how she survived hardship and admonished women to use their hands and skills to empower themselves.

She recalled how she did menial jobs to see herself through at the Lagos State University, saying: “My turning point was when I wrote my first book, and was able to raise money to begin trading business, and later when I got an appointment as Special Adviser on Women Development to a past Governor of Lagos state,” she stated.

Pledging her continued support to the IWS, she said: “The IWS has continually championed the cause of women and I am proud to identify with them and support these causes.“In my little corner, I have also taken a leaf from the IWS by inaugurating my outreach under the platform of the Quality and Selfless Empowerment (QSE) Foundation, and it is registered to support women and children.”

Also speaking, Tinubu decried the plight of widows in Nigeria, noting that they have been mistreated for too long, and called for protection of widows.

“Widowhood practices vary from community to community, but the common denominator in all of these is ill-treatment of and discrimination against widows. Insecurity, insurgency and other challenges continue to pose a threat foisting up the numbers and even creating more widows.

“In many communities, widows suffer degradations such as hair-shaving, confinement, oath-taking, ostracism, violence, disinheritance, discrimination, lengthy mourning periods, restriction of economic endeavours etc. What saddens me most is the fact that women are often the ones championing cruelty against other women, appointing themselves as gate-keepers of a system that is already disadvantageous to women,” Oluremi decried.

On this, the position of the law is clear. Section 34 of the Nigerian Constitution, prohibits cruel inhumane or degrading treatment of any person. The Supreme Court has also held in Okeje Vs Okeje that women can inherit property. Beyond this, we must ensure wholesome implementation and enforcement of our law to guarantee protection for all.


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