They are one of the most vulnerable in the society, they are exposed to indiscriminate abuses in all aspects of their lives, and they bear the scars of their stigmatisation in a society whose sensibility has been lost to a jaded conscience.” Such anonymous oddity captures the plight of widowhood in Nigeria. Nigerian widows like other widows across the world, belong to the downtrodden class, whose voices are mostly represented by Non-Governmental Organisations, civil society and human rights groups, who raise concern over the sordid conditions to which widows are subjected.
Nigerian widows recently joined their counterparts the world over to celebrate the 2013 edition of the International Widows Day.
In Rivers Sate, a cross section of widows in the state gathered at the Ministry of Women Affairs to celebrate their international day of recognition at the instance of the ministry.
The widows filed up in their numbers bearing the brunts and telltale signs of their individual experiences, and typifying the classification of those confined to a perpetual injunction of poverty and deprivations.
Addressing the highly emotional section of participants at the event, the Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Joeba West, raised concern over the plight of widowhood. The commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Belema Mangibo, said “there were an estimated 24.5 million widows in the world, out of which 115 million live in poverty and suffer social stigmatisation.”
She pointed out that “81 million of widows have also been subjected to physical abuses. The commissioner said the theme of the 2013 edition of the event, “zero tolerance, women and men unite to end cultural discrimination against widows” was apt, and urged the widows to be steadfast and strive to know their rights; especially in terms of inheritance of the husband’s property.
The commissioner also called for concerted effort in raising concern for the betterment of widows and save them from cultural and institutional stigmatisation. The commissioner emphasised the need for legislative expediency in the country to protect the interest of widows.
In her keynote address Barr. Florence Amiesimaka, noted that widows in Nigeria have suffered grave indignity through unconscionable cultural practices and other social inbalances and restructions that debases their sense of existence. She decried the traumatic experiences which widows go through in their daily lives, which are mostly recounted during counselling as a legal practitioner. She lamented that “most widows live in hellish conditions due to lack of access to the legal interventions,” and advocated for policies that would place widows on a social obligation by the society. The legal practitioner called on the widows, to always fight for their right by accessing the interventionist offer of concerned bodies like, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) among other NGOs who has passion for their welfare. Mrs. Amiesimaka also urged the widows to be discreet in their economic live, by “investing wisely to cater for the interest of the family.”
Also speaking at the event the chairman of the occasion, Patricia Wali, encourage the widows not to lose hope in live, but always life a cautious live that will protest them. From unpleasant situations. Musing over the plight of widows, the founder of Rose of Sharon Foundation, Folorunsho Alakija, during the launching of her book recently, was reported to have said that; “African widows were among one of the most humiliated peasantries in the world.”
Alakija said; the book “The cry of widows and orphans” chronicles the plight of widows and suggest policies that would help to promote the course of widows. The author was reported to have said during the book launch at the Institute of International Affairs in Lagos, that ‘widowhood which is created by natural occurrence of death, need deserving attention “and if those left behind are not catered for, it comes back to the society. She said, Nigerian widows represented the social inequality in the society and advocated for policies that would promote the course of widowhood. Beyond the advocacy for gender equality, the author said “There was need for special intervention through sustainable policies for widows in terms of rights and other issues that would enhance their physical well-being. In comparative terms, there are the obvious certainties that the growing number of widows in the society, are created by the monster of insecurity which leads to the depletion of male population. In the Niger Delta for instance, reports shows that most male population lost their lives at the peak of the militancy resulting in the expanse of filial fold of widowhood. There are indications that more widows will be created from the murderous campaign ravaging the northern part of the country through the blood tasty reign of the Boko Haram sect. Commenting on the plight of widows, the President of the Niger Coalition Against Violence, (NDCAV), Comrade Lekia Christian said the plight of widows in Nigeria should be given legislative consideration to give them a sense of belonging and raise their derogating sense of existence.”
Comrade Christian also advocated for zero tolerance to violence “to save our male population from depletion and reduce the potentiality of widowhood.” He said the (NDCAV) was committed to raising the awareness against violence in the society. Also commenting on the plight of widowhood, the chairperson of the Port Harcourt City Council, Nwonwereoma Akarolo, charged politicians to channel their resources toward the elevation of the living standards of widows and other less -privilege in the society.
The chairperson who spoke with The Tide while presenting some items to the Port Harcourt children home and the compassion centre, said; “politicians rather than waste their resources on needless political bickering and flaunting of excessive wealth should contribute to charity, and impact on the lives of widows, orphans and the physically challenged.”
The years ahead would decide whether the Nigerian society would yield to the clarionc all of passion and institutional concern towards alleviating the scourge of widowhood.
World Bank Trains 54,000 Women, Youths On Economy
The Kebbi State Government has disclosed that over 54,000 women and youths have been trained by the World Bank to be economically active.
The government also revealed its readiness to reciprocate its achievement recorded in rice production in other products such as onions, sheer-butter and soya beans for exportation purposes.
The Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who stated this while launching women and youth export development facility, in partnership with Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), said, the state has comparative advantage in agriculture over other states.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, Bagudu said, “As you know, Kebbi State is blessed with a population of women who are engaging in rice production and it is now a top talk across the nation due to efforts and support of state governor.
“The state government is trying to reciprocate the achievement recorded in the rice production into sheer butter, onions and soya beans.”
He added that with the partnership with NEXIM, Kebbi State would start the export of soya beans, shea butter and onions.
The Special Adviser to State Governor on Women Development, Hajia Zarau Wali, disclosed that through partnership with the World Bank, over 54,000 women have been trained to be economically active.
According to her, “It is also worthy of note, that the state government in partnership with the World Bank empowered 54,000 women to be economically active through the formation of Women Initiative Group in Maiyama, Ngaski and Argungu local government areas.”
She explained that more women and youths, especially in the rural areas, are actively involved in the production of rice, sheer butter, onions and water melon stressed that they are capable of feeding the nation and exporting the products if they were properly guided.
Wali urged NEXIM to include in their programmes mode of processing and packages of perishable products during their training session for women and youths.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Abba Bello, had commended the state government over it investment on rice production in the state which has increased the IGR of the state.
“Let me commend the investment drive in the state by your administration, particularly the Rice Revolution, which recently led to the unveiling of the rice pyramid as well as the cassava-based ethanol project with huge prospects for production of biofuel and renewable energy.
“Your efforts in this direction have not only contributed to the significant increase in the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) but have also positively impacted the socio-economic indices particularly in the areas of jobs creation and sustainable development”.
Eve Afrique Red Ball Takes Centre Stage In PH, Sunday
This year’s Eve Afrique Red Ball event with theme: “Together, Ensuring Peace and Development Across the Niger Delta”, is set to take place on Sunday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
In an interview, the Editor in Chief of Eve Afrique Magazine, Mrs Ivy Davis Etokakpan, said, this year’s Red Ball event is the 10th and will focus on the socio-economic wealth of the Niger Delta region.
She stated that, over the years, Eve Afrique had worked on eight health related issues, but this time, because of times and seasons, “we are focusing on peace and development across the Niger Delta.
According to her, “we hope to achieve this with the cooperation of leaders of corporate organisations in the Niger Delta. We believe that with the cause action on the Red Ball, we hope to do that with our Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Eve Afrique Empowerment Initiative”.
Etokakpan added that this year will focus basically on internship programme for young people by asking partners of the NGO to accept and train secondary school students during holidays in their companies.
She said, “in the past, we used to do vacation jobs in the oil companies, even in our parents’ companies. We hope that our partners would teach our children workable skills. If this is done, the Niger Delta child would know his or her skill and work on it.
“We want these young ones to learn management and accountancy skills through these internship programmes. Our dream is that, in five years’ time, we would have raised a group of’ equipped and empowered Niger Delta youths who in turn will mentor those coming after them. We need to prepare these ones for the future.
At the Red Ball event this weekend, we expect Elsphon Nigeria Alabo (Dr) Emi Membrane-Otaji, Managing Director, to present a keynote address on “Economic Development across the Niger Delta. Also, former MD of NDDC, Mr Timi Alaibe will present a paper on Peace Across the Niger Delta at the event”, she said.
It would be recalled that over the years, Eve Afrique Red Ball has achieved levels of successes over the previous Red Ball events in raising awareness on general health matters, empowerment programmes as a way of giving back to the state and society at large.
Eve Afrique had hosted programmes which include the sickle cell awareness programme, cervical cancer awareness and prevention programme, diabetic management awareness and prevention programme, prostate cancer awareness programme and colon cancer awareness programmes.
Eve Afrique had the mandate of changing the narrative concerning the Niger Delta.
They are on a mission to highlight and showcase the beauty of the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole, she added.
By: Ibinabo Ogolo
Women’s Health And Wellness
Women and men share many similar health problems, but women have their own health issues, which deserve special consideration.
Women’s lives have changed over the centuries. Historically, life was particularly difficult for most women. Aside from the numerous dangers and diseases, women became wives and mothers often when they were just emerging from their own childhood. Many women had a large number of pregnancies which may or may not have been wanted. In the past, childbirth itself was risky and frequently, led to the death of the mother. Most women in the past did not live long enough to be concerned about menopause or old age.
In 1900, a woman’s life span was about 50 years. Now, in the new millennium, average life expectancy for women is 82 years of age, and it is continuing to rise. Not only are women living longer, but they also can anticipate the possibility of enjoying a better quality of life throughout their span of years. In order to accomplish this, it is essential that women take charge of their own bodies and that they comprehend how they can maximise their personal health and fitness. It is also helpful that men understand and are supportive of the health concerns of the women.
Gynaecology is the primary branch of medical science concerned with women’s health issues. The word “gynaecology” is a word consisting of “gynaeco,” meaning “woman,” and “logic,” meaning “knowledge.” Taken together, it is “woman knowledge.
It is important that every woman has access to knowledge related to the spectrum of women’s health issues, not only about her reproductive system, but about all aspects of her body.
There is credible information available to women, not only on such problems as eating disorders, stress, alcoholism, addictions, and depression, but also on basic topics such as good nutrition, heart health, and exercise. For example, it is beneficial that a woman maintains her optimum weight. If a woman’s waist size measures more than 35 inches (89 cm), she is more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Eating sensible meals, eliminating after-dinner snacks, and making physical activity a part of daily life are significant ways to help control weight and lower the risk of a long list of health problems.
Smoking is detrimental to anyone’s health, as well as the health of those around them. Unfortunately, women continue to smoke despite the known health risks. Even though the number of female smokers is declining, still women continue to smoke.
Women are smoking in spite of the well-publicised risks including cancer, heart disease, and innumerable other health issues.
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol is also harmful to health. Although women typically begin drinking at a later age than men and tend to drink somewhat less, lower doses of alcohol are required for women to develop alcohol-related medical problems including alcohol toxicity, cirrhosis, and hepatitis.
Women should be aware that they metabolise a number of drugs differently than men. In some cases and for some medications, the rate of metabolism may be slower, and in other cases, faster. It is, therefore, essential that women are well informed about the kinds and correct dosages of any drugs they are taking.
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