“100m Widows Suffer Discrimination Worldwide”


About 100 million widows worldwide still suffer harmful discrimination and obnoxious traditional practices in most parts of the globe, particularly in Nigeria.
The wife of the Rivers State Governor, Dame Judith Amaechi made the revelation in a goodwill message during the commemoration of the International Widows Day in Port Harcourt.
Dame Amaechi lamented that despite the burden widows bear as bread winners of their families after the demise of their husbands they still suffer from malign discrimination.
She however declared that as a deliberate policy to reverse the trend, her pet programme, the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) had demonstrated effort to support women and widows.
Consequently, she disclosed that about N600million has been earmarked for disbursement to widows under the present administration in the form of micro-credit loan scheme.
Other initiatives introduced by the government, Dame Amaechi enumerated include commercial taxi loan scheme, soap making for youths, women and widows, as well as rural-based nursery school for less privileged children, particularly children of widows.
She called on the Rivers State House of Assembly to come up with stiffer legislations against all forms of discrimination and inhuman practices against widows.
She also urged the media and civil society to reinvigorate their campaign in the promotion and improvement of widows rights.
Earlier, Speaker of the Rivers State House Assembly, Rt Hon Tonye Harry has tasked the government and private sector to increase their effort to improve healthcare delivery to reduce mortality rate.
He further declared, “even as no one prays to be a widow, we also do not know what tricks life will play on us. We all should therefore see widows in our midst and their families as an extension of ourselves.
Rt Hon Harry stressed the need for legal binding provisions to be made to guide the devolution of estates of their late husbands empowering their wives with gainful employment to mitigate their sufferings.
He promised that the House would ensure that high impact bills are made to protect the right of the widows and children.
Presenting the plight of widows to the Speaker of the House during a protest by the women, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Manuela Izunwa underscored the strategic role the assembly could perform to improve the plight of widows.
She requested the House to enact legislations that would empower widows, “no action can rightly arrogate to itself the status of being developed, when women, who in most cases constitute over half of the population are left behind in the development process”, she added.
Mrs. Izunwa lauded the assembly for enacting laws that are gender friendly, especially the dehumanising and harmful traditional practices law No. 2 of 2003.