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.
Army Arrests 50 Foreigners, Others For Job Racketeering
The Nigerian Army said it has arrested 50 suspects, including foreigners, for alleged international job racketeering in Lagos.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who addressed journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday, said the suspects were arrested during an operation jointly conducted by the Army and the Nigeria Immigration Service.
He also disclosed that no fewer than 13 criminals were killed and 88 arrested during various operations across 20 states of the federation.
Among those arrested include 50 suspects comprising foreigners who were nabbed for alleged International job racketeering.
Onyema said, “In the South-West region, on November 2, 2023, troops of 9 Brigade Nigerian Army in conjunction with personnel of Nigerian Immigration Service, Lagos State Command, conducted a raid operation on a suspected criminal hideout at Ifako Ijaye.
“During the operation, 50 suspects, including foreigners who specialise in international job racketeering, were arrested. In a similar development same day, the same troops arrested two suspects at a hotel in Ogba in the Ikeja LGA.
“The arrest was in connection with the murder of one Mallam Idris Ardo, the Ardo of Panya Village in Plateau State. Preliminary investigation revealed that one of the arrested suspects masterminded the killing of Ardo and fled the community since the incident occurred.”
Elder Statesman Charges FG On Judges, Magistrates’ Security
An elders statesman and advocate of oil rights in the Niger Delta, Rev Sokari Soberekon, has called on the Federal Government to beef up security for High Court Judges and Magistrates in the country. The iconoclastic doctor of humanities made this plea while addressing newsmen during the just concluded 2023/2024 rededication of the legal year of the Rivers State Judiciary held at the St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt last Thursday.
Soberekon stressed the essence of maximised security for Judges and Magistrates in Nigeria to ensure prompt and fearless dispensation of justice, equity and fairplay. He, maintained that apart from armed Police orderlies, the Judges and Magistrates should be legally authorised to keep personal arms for self defence when necessary, adding that this innovative policy would enhance the desired environment for an independent judiciary.
According to the octogenarian minority rights activist, the judiciary is the sanctuary of justice and equity.
He recalled the circumstances surrounding the gruesome murder of the former Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Late. Chief Bola Ige.
Soberekon noted that, in spite of the retinue of official security aides attached to the late former Governor of Oyo State, Ige would not have been murdered if he was personally armed on that fateful day of his demise.
Soberekon emphasised the need to shun eye service in the nation’s polity.
He, however, maintained that the only Oga in politics is God Almighty, who he said uses people to install others in office.
Soberekon recalled the meeting he had with King Alfred Diete-Spiff in Lagos from where the pioneer Governor of the State started planning the blueprint of the old Rivers State.
He said what Rivers State needs now is peace, and applauded the placard with the description, ‘Peace’, displayed during the rededication ceremony.
He noted with delight that while delivering a sermon at the occasion, the Vicar of the church advised Nigerians to give peace a chance and also to build a nation where peace and justice reign.
Bayelsa Poll: Party Chieftain Tips Sylva For Victory
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Fente Thomas Abrakasa, has said the Bayelsa State governorship candidate of the party in the forthcoming governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva, would win landslide in the Nembe Local Government Area of the State and in other parts of the state.
Abrakasa stated this recently in Yenagoa, the State capital, while speaking with newsmen following a close door meeting with stakeholders of the constituency in Nembe Government Area of the State.
At the meeting, Abrakassa was unanimously selected as the new leader of the APC for the Nembe Constituency one.
He noted that though over the years, he had deliberately led a passive political life, he has been an ardent supporter of good causes in politics with patriotic and development friendly politicians.
The Tide also learnt that Chief Abrakasa has vested interest in the oil and gas industry, especially in oil pipelines surveillance and related contracts.
“All those parading themselves as die-hard members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nembe constituency one should note that the APC candidate, Chief Sylva, would win completely in Nembe constituency one and beyond.
“I’ve told our party faithfuls to be prepared to peacefully deliver our governorship candidate in the forthcoming November 11 polls. We’d work together and partner for the victory of Chief Timipre Sylva and victory for the APC in Nembe Constituency one, and, by God’s grace beyond the Constituency”, he said.
Also speaking, the new Deputy leader of the party in the constituency, Chief (Hon) Omie Derri Agbazule called on party faithful to unite together for the victory of the party’s gubernatorial candidate.
He stated that the APC was the best party, and Chief Sylva was the most qualified amongst all candidates from all the parties contesting for the State’s Governorship election.
Agbazule also noted that the leadership of the party at the Nembe constituency one under Abrakasa and himself in collaboration with the party’s faithfuls were willing to return the former Minister of State for Petroleum elected as Governor of the State, come November 11, 2023.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
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