By Chioma Ndife
The Wife of Governor of Anambra State and founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), a Non-Governmental Organization, Dr. (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) has decried the sustenance of obnoxious practices which deny widows basic rights in some communities.
She called on those who promote such discriminatory and degrading acts to discard them and accord widows their rights as full-fledged members of the community.
Mrs. Obiano made the plea in Awka on 23rd June 2020, in a special message signed by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Emeka Ozumba, to commemorate the International Widows Day 2020.
Mrs. Obiano stated that situations where the rights of women are tied solely to their husbands’ is discriminatory, abhorrent and should be abolished.
In her words ‘In this twenty first century, it is disheartening and unpardonable to hear that a woman stands accused of the death of her husband and is therefore subjected to life threatening and painful mourning practices and rites. Often, such widows are separated from their children, and the properties of the diseased husbands rudely appropriated by their accusers. Thankfully, our laws have recognized the rights of women to inheritance, but such laws must be enforced to preserve the dignity of widows and the family unit’ she stated.
The wife of the Governor urged community leaders where such practices hinder widows to ensure the discard of such retrogressive practices which single out hapless widows at their most vulnerable moments for maltreatment in the name of tradition.
“Every widow deserves the right to work, access to healthcare and inheritance. No person or group should deny a widow her rights under false pretenses,” she emphasized.
Mrs. Obiano who’s NGO, CAFE, is in the forefront of care and empowerment of indigent widows has built free houses for twenty-seven beneficiary widows so far. She has equally offered thousands of widows’ free training on various life sustaining skills.
Osodieme commended the United Nations for dedicating a day of observance for widows which enhances awareness of the challenges they faced in some parts of the world.
She also thanked the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, for ensuring that issues concerning women, especially widows, are given priority attention to ensure their welfare.
She disclosed that the goal of the United Nations on the International Day of Women was to develop resources and policy to empower widows, with all rights restored, and to enable them create a life for themselves and their children in order to end the cycle of poverty and abuse that had confronted them over the years.