By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Victor Okafor, has called on the traditional rulers of all the communities of the state to abolish all the harmful and obnoxious laws against women that are in existence in their communities.
Rt. Hon Okafor, who gave the call in his goodwill message to the widows, to mark the 2019 International Widows’ Day on June 23, 2019, called on the various communities and their leaders, to give the women their due respect.
Pointing out that the law enacted by the state legislature, condemning obnoxious widowhood practices was still operational in the state, the speaker maintained that the state legislature would continue to protect and enhance the living conditions of widows in the state through favourable legislations.
Okafor commended the wife of the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, for what he described as the better life she provided for widows and other less privileged individuals in the state through her Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE). He enjoined well meaning citizens to contribute to the wellbeing of the women in the state, especially the widows.
Rt. Hon. Okafor urged widows to continue to exhibit good conduct and look unto God as their husband and great provider.
It would be recalled that International Widows Day is a United Nations day of action set aside to highlight and combat discrimination and injustice suffered by widows throughout the world.
According to United Nations (UN), the International Day for widows was launched in 2010, to raise awareness of the violation of human rights that widows suffer in many countries, due to the death of their spouses.
The ultimate goal of the day was to develop resources and policy to empower widows, as well as allow them to have access to education, work, healthcare and lives free of violence and abuse.
According to the UN, the day which worked to achieve full rights for the widows was necessary because in many countries with traditional societies, women were often left in poverty after the death of their husbands. While in some countries, some women, who lost their husbands, were denied of their inheritance and land rights, some were even evicted from their homes, whereas others were ostracised and abused. The children of widows were often affected and even withdrawn from schools, especially the girls, who were more vulnerable to abuse.
UN stressed the need for all countries to give widows their pride of place, and develop policies and programmes to address their problems.