From Fred Itua, Abuja
The President of Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Dr Jumai Ahmadu, has urged the Federal Government to ensure the rights of widows are enshrined in international law.
The gender rights crusader, while calling on relevant authorities to take the plight of widows seriously, said many of them maybe passing through hardship of different kinds.
“They should ensure compliance of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” she urged.
Ahmadu made this known in her message to 370 widows who were undergoing numerous skills acquisition programme to commemorate the International Widows’ Day on Thursday in Abuja.
She said part of her contribution to the lives of the widows is to empower 370 to enhance their livelihoods and improve their confidence to face the future with their children.
Ahmadu who was represented by the Programme Coordinator, Mr Onoja Arome, urged widows to remain calm and law abiding. She urged them not to contribute negatively to the status already subsisting, saying, careful approach should be maintained when clamouring for their rights with late husband’s properties as law are available to women in such circumstances.
She said: “Widows are among other group in the society that are most marginalized, denied access to common patrimonies of their husbands, social and sexual abuse in some instances and most experiences violence violence against women.
“The widowhood circumstances is an emergence never wished for by any woman with a same mind but the conditions beyond our natural ability, seems to permit such an unwarranted situation.
“Many of the widows we see today would wish to have their spouse back if God permits but this is an impossible thing and that is why we try by all means that widows are given this yearly treatment in order to continue to have a taste of what it feels like to have people around an individual who have lost so much. A husband is so much to loose.
“We therefore call the attention of all relevant authority to take the plight of of this group of people seriously as they may be passing through hardship of different kind.
“The problems of widows are not far-fetched as this conditions are particular with developing countries, they are: Poverty, Violence, Health related issues and Conflict related issues to mention just four.
“The aforementioned problems are evidenced in the daily life of the widows in any developing country in the world and Nigeria has the worst case scenario”, she stressed.
Earlier, the cluster group coordinator, Miss Cecilia Kadiri, enjoined the women to make judicious use of the opportunity to fend for themselves and their children.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ifeoma Onuora she expressed gratitude to the organizer of the programme, saying, I have put to use the knowledge I acquire here, “I have started baking , what I need now is a small grant to take off.”
Another beneficiary, Flora Rekiyat Abuh who learnt fashion designer said “the cloth am wearing was made by me. I can now make clothes for customers.”