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Government charged to create laws for widows’ protection

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Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Lagos State chapter, Ms. Phil Nneji, has appealed to government and policymakers to provide laws and policies that will eradicate harmful practices against widows in the country.

Nneji made the appeal at an empowerment ceremony to celebrate 2021 International Widow’s Day, themed, “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems”.Nneji made the appeal at an empowerment ceremony to celebrate 2021 International Widow’s Day, themed, “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems”, organised by Tender hearts foundation.

According to her, governments should be aware of the challenges widows face and search out ways to cushion them.

“Widows have special needs because they go through a lot from their husbands’ family members and cultural practices in the society.

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“We have been getting reports about some people still practising harmful traditional acts against widows such as shaving their heads, locking them up, denying them bath and others. Governments should provide specific laws to protect the rights of widows in Nigeria,” Nneji said.

According to her, United Nation statistics reports that there are about 350 million widowed people all over the world; 80 per cent are widows, while 20 per cent are widowers.

“The numbers of widows are high. They need to be comforted. Policymakers or decision makers should involve widows in decision-making,”Nneji said.

Founder, Tender Hearts Foundation, Mrs. Sally Othihiwa, urged governments to effectively enforce laws to protect widows against harmful or barbaric practices.

Othihiwa, who is also a UN Ambassador for Peace and Social Justice, said there was need to keep creating awareness of widows’ fundamental rights.

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“We adopt this day to raise awareness of the issue of widowhood in Nigeria. Widows suffer from in-laws’ abuse, discrimination, maltreatment, rejection and economic deprivation purely because they have lost their husbands. One of our key goals is to highlight unforseen calamity and provide means of help for the women,” she said.

Othihiwa urged philanthropists and other well-meaning individuals to support the organisation to support more widows and less privileged women in Nigeria.

Group Head, Business Development, BOI Investment and Trust Company, Victoria Madedor, advised widows to speak out in times of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity.

Madedor said the more people speak up, the more they would realise they were not alone in any situation.

“Always be happy regardless of whatever happens to you,” she advised.

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