A Gombe-based NGO, Hope Foundation for the Lonely, has urged the Gombe State Government to ensure the protection of the rights of widows in the state.
The Founder of the NGO, Mrs Sarah Yapwa, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Wednesday as part of activities to commemorate the 2021 International Widows’ Day.
Yapwa said the call became necessary in view of the treatment being meted to women after losing their husbands.
Apart from the loneliness of losing their companions, Yapwa said, the burden of the family fall on the widows as relatives of the husbands in most cases did not render any support.
“This makes the issue of widowhood in Gombe State and Nigeria pathetic because of the challenges they are exposed to after losing their husbands.
“In most cases, the husbands’ families take everything from the widows except children. And when the children are grown up and successful, they return to reap the benefits,’’ she said.
She stated that the situation was often worse for widows who were not working or doing anything before losing their husbands, adding that most widows lose their rights and incomes after losing their husbands.
“We call on the state government to protect the rights of widows by educating and empowering them with skills that would make them earn for themselves and feed their children.
“There should be real and intensive skills acquisition programmes of at least six months and they should be given starter packs afterwards to make them economically empowered and self-reliant,’’ she said.
Yapwa said the many challenges widows in the state faced had made them develop various illnesses like hypertension, which had led to the death of many of them and rendering many children orphans.
She advised the state government to promote girl-child education in the state, adding that educating the girl-child would go a long way in empowering them to address issues of widowhood if they found themselves in such situation.
Yapwa also advised husbands to always write their wills in favour of their wives or children as a way of securing their future as against the situation where men will their properties to their brothers or relatives.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Day is marked to call on local and international stakeholders to give special attention to the situation of widows and their children.
The Day also seeks to promote an end to all discrimination against widows and advocates for the rights of all widows so they could enjoy better lives.
The UN General Assembly declared June 23 International Widows’ Day in its 2010 resolution and the 2021 theme is “Invisible women, invisible problems.