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Gov. Ortom’s wife sues for elimination of harmful widowhood practices

Dr Eunice Ortom, wife of Benue’s Gov. Samuel Ortom, on Thursday in Makurdi appealed that all hands be on deck to eliminate practices harmful to widows. She spoke at a one-day consultative forum on a proposed bill on the elimination of harmful widowhood practices and the inclusion of women in traditional leadership in Benue. She…

Eunice Ortom

Dr Eunice Ortom, wife of Benue’s Gov. Samuel Ortom, on Thursday in Makurdi appealed that all hands be on deck to eliminate practices harmful to widows.

She spoke at a one-day consultative forum on a proposed bill on the elimination of harmful widowhood practices and the inclusion of women in traditional leadership in Benue.

She lamented that a lot of women had lost their lives to harmful widowhood practices, noting that most widows were ejected from their homes at the death of their spouses.

“They are denied even access to farmland and the right to other inheritances.

“In some cases their children are taken away from them and they are denied access to the children,’’ Ortom lamented.

She noted also that widows faced all forms of demeaning situations ranging from rights abuses and indignity.

“It is the responsibility of all and sundry to join hands and fight to end harmful practices against widows,’’ she stressed.

She also called for the inclusion of women in traditional leadership, at least at the grassroots level because, according to her, women are good providers of solutions.

In her remarks, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Tabitha Igirgi, commended the governor’s wife for initiating the bills, stressing that the ministry would give them the desired support.

Meanwhile the state’s Chairperson, Gender-Based Violence Advocacy and Policy Implementation Committee, Prof. Magdalyne Dura, said the bill on eliminating harmful widowhood practices sought to establish a commission to rehabilitate Benue widows.

She appealed to men to always protect their women and children against all manners of abuses.

Chairman, Benue chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Akpen Leva, pledged that the Church would support the initiative, adding that it was quite laudable.

Mrs Agnes Uloko, member representing Ado at the Benue House of Assembly, encouraged men to ensure they wrote their Wills to prevent their families from taking charge of their property at their demise.

The consultation was organised by Eunice Spring of Life Foundation in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady of Benue and the Benue Gender Based Violence and Policy Implementation Committee.