by crossriverwatch admin
The Wife of the Governor of Cross River, Mrs. Obioma Liyel–Imoke has advocated for the establishment of transition homes in each of the six geo-political zones of the country to cater for the needs of widows in distress.
She made the advocacy in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital recently at a National Widowhood Summit convened by Wives of Governors in the South-South and South East states of Nigeria.
She said that each transition home will serve as a refuge for displaced widows and would be sited in each geo-political zone initially but would ultimately be built in each state of the federation.
She explained that such a home would provide a three-fold package to include welfare, counseling and legal services to the widows.
The Governor’s Wife, who is also the Founder and Chairman of Board of a Non Governmental Organization, Partnership Opportunities for Women Empowerment Realization, POWER, further lamented the dearth of information and data on Widows as well as the absence of systematic means of addressing issues threatening the existence of widows.
She expressed happiness that the Minister of Women Affairs has put machinery in place to address the issue adding that in Cross River, the government is undertaking a comprehensive biometrics to enumerate widows in the state.
According to Mrs. Liyel-Imoke, widows are subjected to indignities such as confinement, defacement, disinheritance, ritual cleansing, dethronement, ostracism amongst others.
She appealed to women still involved in harmful traditional practices to stop the practice, encouraging men to write their will stating clearly how their property should be shared in the event of death while everyone should update their employment, insurance and other relevant records to reflect their spouse as next of kin.
Declaring the summit open, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio disclosed that his administration has made deliberate efforts against the exploitation of widows while his wife Ekaette Uloma Akpabio has built over seventy houses for widows and children in the state.
The Akwa Ibom Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Noble Lady Valerie Ebe stated that plans were under way to provide skills acquisition for widows to gain financial independence and expressed hope that the widowhood summit will set an agenda for the total liberation of widows from the clutches of retrogressive tradition.
Speaking, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Youth Development, Senator Helen Esuene said it is natural that whatever a couple achieves be available for their children after their death and urged traditional rulers to put an end to obnoxious practices surrounding widowhood that offer no value to the society.
Senator Esuene commended states that have promulgated laws to protect widows while calling on other states to do so, adding that the United Nations International Widows Day was to afford governments, communities, families and individuals the opportunity to appraise the welfare and well being of widows.
Each Wife of the Governors in the South–East and South–South regions made presentations on projects on widows intervention in their respective states while the lead paper was presented by the National Vice President of FIDA, Barrister Hauwa Shekarau, on “Overview of Widowhood Issues in Nigeria”.
Other papers presented include, “The Role of the Judiciary in Ensuring Justice for Widows Rights Violation” by the Chief Judge of Cross River, Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam, “The Role of the Legislature in Advancing Widows Rights” by the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Larry Odey, and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Rt. Hon. Elder Sam Ikon.
Others are “The Role of the Church in the Protection of Widows Rights” and that of the “Traditional Institutions in Upholding the Rights of Widows” by the chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet.
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