By Olayemi John-Mensah
In commemorating the 2017 United Nations International Widows’ Day (IWD), the Women Federation for World Peace (WFWP), Nigeria, has recommended that programmes and policies be put in place to end violence against widows and their children.
Celebrating the 2017 Widows’ Day on Friday in Abuja with some women from various communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the National President of WFWP, Gbemisola Olorunfunmi, said the day was set aside to commemorate with women who lost their husbands.
“We recommend that poverty alleviation, education and other support services to widows of all ages be undertaken, including the context of the action plan to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Olorunfunmi said they discovered that women suffer a lot when they lost their husbands in this part of the world, stressing that some cultures and traditional practices were not favourable to women.
“Family members come in to take over their possessions thereby making both the woman and the children vulnerable. These and some other issues are what we preach against,” she said.
She said in giving special recognition to the situations of families of all ages and across regions and cultures, WFWP Nigeria was dedicated to empowering women with the knowledge, tools and the support needed to create peace at homes, peace in communities, peace in nations and peace throughout the world.
She added that the federation did the little they could to awaken these women, inspire them and also encourage them to rise up and do something to help themselves and their children.
“We empower them to be independent, to be able to help their children and not just to sit down and fold their arms when things are going wrong around them. We also teach them how to seek redress when their rights are trampled on. They need to find something to do to take care of their children in spite of their husbands’ deaths,” she said.
She advised the men on the need to put their homes in order in case they die eventually so that their wives and their children would not suffer humiliation at the hands of relatives.
“Let people know that your wife is the next person after you and nobody can take that position, including the children. In the case of any eventuality, the woman can assume her full right and take her place instead of leaving her and her children at the mercy of family members,” she said.
She used the forum to call on the government to step in for these women, adding that the government was the parent of everybody in the land and should assume full responsibility when the need arose.