words, the death of a loved one, especially one that leaves a remarkable vacuum in the life of the living, is an experience that calls for sympathy and probably practical gesture that would be aimed at reducing the impact of the loss.
To many, the loss of a breadwinner, places them in an unstable state, that takes them a long time to rediscover themselves and see meaning in life again.
This precisely is the story of many widows who had leaned earnestly on their late spouses. The news of the death of their spouses do not only throw them into a big shock, it destabilises their stronghold; economically, socially and otherwise.
To these ones, it takes the intervention of philanthropists to make life meaningful again to them.
Only those who know what it means to lose a pillar of one’s life, know how to manage the remains of the living. Ohiowale Rachael Chukwueroka, popularly known as Ehidiana of Wazobia Radio FM, Port Harcourt, is one among many that had taken a stand to reduce the pains and burdens of widows in our neighbourhood. Her yearly charity gesture, known as “A Day With the Widows”, provides a platform for her to touch the lives of widows and put smiles on their faces so they can see reason to live on and flow along with others.
Apart from Ehidiana, our daily news is replete with names of politicians, philanthropists and some religious outfits who also visit the widows to alleviate their plight.
Yet, amidst these ones with the heart of gold towards humanity, exist others who feed well in the tears of people. Such ones would hardly see any reason to sypathise with the widows and so would stop at nothing in making sure that their pains and sorrows know no end.
They are men and women who would want widows to lose everything not excluding their own lives all because they lost their husbands.
How does it feel to lose one’s status, livelihood or property, all for a loss of husband? Painful! I guess, yet this situation has become the portion of many widows in our society today.
At various times in different localities, cases have been reported about how widows are treated at the demise of their husbands. While some are foced to drink their husband’s corpse’s bath water, others are subjected to sit on bare floor, bare bodied and with their hairs shaven without recourse to the health hazard these actions predispose the victims to.
The sin of these widows cannot be far from the death of their husbands which is often suspected to have been caused by the living widows, but how true is this allegation?
To address this worrisome culture, the United Nations set aside June 23rd every year as “International Widows Day,” to stress that, “no widow should lose her status, livelihood or property at the death of her husband.
Unfortunately, millions of our widows face persistent abuse, discrimination, disinheritance and destitution. As a result of this development, the Federation of Women Lawyers has at various time championed the defense of many widows who had faced one form of torture or the other from their in-law homes but for how long will this last? What about those who cannot reach the women lawyers for assistance and cannot also take their case to the law court for lack of financial and moral support?
Many at times it is hard to believe that a man would lose his spouse, and he is being sympathised and not just that, he attracts genuine sympathy from people, he is assisted to bear the burden and be eased of his sorrow. This same man can resume his work the next day while the late wife remains unburied and even after burial he is encouraged to remarry in less than one month yet the society does not frown at it. Should that which is good for the geese not be good for the gander?
There is whatsoever no reason for any woman to lose her status, livelihood or property because she has lost her husband.
In as much as the life of the woman does not terminate at the demise of her husband, there is every need for her to be given the enabling environment so as to gather the pieces of her life and live it well. The woman is not a lesser mortal to the man and so, every human right violation on her, stemming from the unjust view of the woman as having a diminishing value must stop.By the message of the United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, last year. “We must erase the social stigmatisation and economic deprivation that widows are faced with eliminate their high risk of sexual abuse and exploitation and remove the barriers to resources and economic opportunities that constrain their future. We must also advance widows equal rights to inheritance, property, land and other assets.
The vision of a life of dignity for all will remain a mirage without a resolve to end all discriminatory attitudes against widows and ensure that widows of all ages enjoy equal human rights, including the right to shape their future and to participate fully in society.
Media Women Tasked On Journalism Of Responsibility
Members of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Rivers State Chapter, have been charged to practise “ journalism of responsibility “. The chairperson of the association, Mrs Susan Serekara Nwikhana, gave the charge two days ago in a one day capacity building workshop organized for members in collaboration with West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP) in Port Harcourt.
Mrs Nwikhana noted that journalism of responsibility which according to her, can only be achieved by presenting the facts to the audience to hold their opinion on the presented facts, remains a sure way to gaining the public’s credibility as well as enhancing the media’s reputation to the public.
She maintained that such could go a long way to debunk the age long myth that complete objectivity is not obtainable in journalism practice, as journalists are said to lack the will to be entirely separated from their personal view points despite their averred claims to objectivity.
Commenting on the topic of the event, ‘ the role of the media in the implementation of the Rivers State action plan on 1325, and, identifying fake news, facts and the journalist’, Mrs Nwikhana noted that the topic could not have come at a better time than now, considering the importance of information dissemination to peace building or escalation of conflicts in the society.
Corroborating the stand of the media women’s boss on factual presentation of information, a guest speaker in the workshop, the south-south zonal director of Business Day Newspaper, Mr Ignatius Chukwu, the principal responsibility of every journalist is to report the fact notwithstanding the resultant effect.
Oba Extols The virtues Of Women
The new Oba of Ogba Land, His Eminence, Barrister Nwachukwu Nnam Obi (111), has expressed great value and respect for the women folk.
This happened last week as a delegation of members of the Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Rivers State chapter, visited the palace of the late Oba, His Eminence, Sir (Dr) Chukwumela Nnam Obi (11) OON, JP, FNATT, Oba (Eze Ogba) of Ogba Land on a condolence visit to his family.
The royal father who spoke lovely of his mother, sisters and wife, recognized and acknowledged in no mean measure, the value of women to the development of the society.
He confessed a high indebtedness to the effort of women around his life for successes he ever achieved in life.
His words; “ whatever I have become today, women contributed so much to it hence I hold them so close to my heart”, were clear demonstration of the extent to which he appreciates the immeasurable role of women in societal development.
Relating his resolve to keep to the later, the legacies, wishes and aspirations of his late father, he said “ my father had longed to have a woman serve in the capacity of the vice president of Nigeria. It had also been his dream to have some obnoxious traditional rules within our domain amended in favour of women, especially as it partains to sharing of family inheritance “
He thus promised that his kingdom would continue to ensure that women are put in their right place, while issues that bothers on their well being would always be given a priority consideration.
In her response, the Chairman of NAWOJ, Mrs Susan Serekara-Nwikhana, appreciated the gesture, especially his resolve to carry on the existing relationship between his late father and the body of women journalists in the state.
250,000 Women Suffering From VVF
No fewer 250,000 women are battling Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the country.
However, only 3,000 of that number are fortunate enough to be attended to annually.
This was revealed by Board Chairman, North-East Development Commission (NEDC), Maj-Gen Paul Tarfa, during the flag-off of Free Fistula Repair Campaign Project (FFRCP) by the commission in collaboration with the Borno State Government, yesterday.
VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.
VVF patients are usually underage/child-brides, who develop the condition mostly after childbirth.
However, experts list the causes of VVF to include abdominal surgery (hysterectomy or caesarean section); pelvic, cervical, or colon cancer; radiation treatment; bowel disease like Crohn’s or diverticulitis; infection (including after an episiotomy or a tear you had when you gave birth) and traumatic injury, such as from a car accident.
Meanwhile, in his goodwill message at the ceremony, the NEDC Board Chairman, Maj-Gen Paul Tarfa, represented by the Board member North-West zone, Hajiya Asmau Mai-Eka Muhammadu, said only 3,000 of the 250,000 VVF victims get attended to.
According to Tarfa, “Statistics indicate that there are about 250,000 women awaiting repair in Nigeria, out of which only 3,000 are fortunate to be attended to annually.
“12,000 new cases develop every year with large numbers coming from the North-East due to the insecurity and increased poverty, which further hindered access to health care.
“It is, therefore, important that all efforts are made to bring succour to this vulnerable group of women to enable them pick the pieces of their lives, by offering them a new lease for meaningful existence within their respective communities.”
The wife of the governor, Dr. Falmata Zulum, flagged off the fistula repair project (FFRCP) at the Conference Hall, State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.
It was also revealed that 100 women victims have undergone successful corrective surgery at the hospital.
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