As the world celebrates this season, Monday, December 20, 2021, will remain memorable in the minds of widows in Apani and Ozuaha communities, in Ikwerre ethnic nationality.
This is because a non-profit oriented organisation under the auspices of Ogbakor Ikwerre California , through its Widows’ Project, chose to put smile on the faces of the indegenous widows this Xmas by showering them with food items.
Ikwerre Widows Project’, is a platform used by Ogbakor Ikwerre in diaspora to reach out to widows and the less privileged from the Ikwerre ethnic extraction, as a way of making them feel belonged.
Yearly, widows in Ikwerre land are visited with food items at the end of the year, as a demonstration of love and commitment to the wellbeing of the people, especially the widows.
Fortunately, this year’s Widows’ project was zoned to Apani community which is made up of eight villages and Ozuaha community of about twelve villages. The widows in both communities were very happy. They heaved a big sigh of relief receiving such welfare gesture from their brothers and sisters living in diaspora.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries of this gesture have expressed appreciation to members of the organization for counting them worthy to be part of it, in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the beneficiaries in Apani, Mrs Louisa Amadi, expressed joy as she thanked them and prayed God to bless the hands that remembered widows, especially at this Christmas season.
Earlier on arrival at Apani to receive the Ogbakor Ikwerre California delegation, the Eze Oha, Nye-nwe Ali Apani Owhoraka VII of Apani Land, HRH Eze (Dr) Onoka L.A Okoromini, appreciated the efforts of members of the organization, but revealed that widows in Apani were much more than the 100 widows who benefitted from the welfare package.
He prayed for more of God’s provision so as to reach out to all of them in the community.
In her opening remarks, one of the representatives of Ogbakor Ikwerre California, Mrs Christiana Chukumati, explained that the program was made possible by brothers and sisters in California, who saw the need to give widows in Ikwerre Land a sense of belonging, especially during this festive season.
According to her, it symbolises love and care. She further explained that the widows’ project started some years back in Obio/Akpor, then Rumuodumanya and Rumuokoro, adding that their strength has continued to increase because the hand of God was upon all their projects.
She said that the mandate to Apani and Ozuaha was basically for core widows that find it hard to put food on their tables, so that they do not feel the pains of the death of their husbands.
Chukumati added that it is an annual event, and that the choice of beans and rice is not out of place considering some of the ages of the widows, who will now prefer beans to against rice.
Earlier, Pastor Constance Walker discouraged widows from moving from one man to another as that will not help them, but that they should look up to God.
She charged them to cry to God in their times of needs instead of man, Walker said only God can help them in their difficulties. He also prayed God to touch the lives of their children and make them great, so that their suffering mothers would be properly taken care of at old age.
She prayed for members of the Organization that none of them would fall short of God’s glory, adding that God will always provide for them what they need to keep this project going.
Expressing joy, Chairman Ozuaha Council of Chiefs, High Chief Richard Amadi, thanked the donors as he charged the widows to acknowledge the efforts of the givers and pray for them for more to come, urging them to make proper use of it. He stated that the people of Ogbakor Ikwerre California have encouraged them to eat nutritional food this period, a reason for which they have made the provision for beans and rice.
It will be recalled that last year members of the association visited widows in Rumuewhor and Eli-Brada Communities all in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State with food items.
Ogbakor Ikwerre California, a branch of Ogbakor Ikwerre USA (OIUSA) Inc, is an organization of Ikwerre indigenes residing in Califonia, in the United States of America. They are committed to the survival and prosperity of the Ikwerre people.
The project has been on since 2014, starting with Obio/Akpor. It covers projects such as scholarship for the children as well as medical outreach services, including skills acquisition projects.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
Deborah’s Death, One, Too Many
Deborah Samuel was a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State of Nigeria. The female Christian faithful, had also tested violence against women. This time, not from a spouse but course mates.
Parents had laboured day and night to ensure that she became a graduate so as to be empowered in the future. To have found herself in a tertiary institution means that the sky might not even be her limit. But what I may call enmity on womanhood had caused her death. It is surprising that it is happening in the four walls of an educational institution.
Lately, violence against women and girls has been on the increase. That of Deborah is one, too many. Since women are the weaker sex, what can they do?
Belonging to the WhatsApp group in a class to share and learn together may not be wrong after all. But the manner in which her course mates who belong to the same group took laws into their hands should be condemned.
Should social media platforms where groups share ideas and jokes become war zone? Should not people do simple arguments that should not lead to unnecessary death.
It was reported that Deborah and her Moslem course mates had a simple argument and before you knew it, it led to her death.
While they were in class, as a result of the argument, they allegedly pulled her out of the class, stoned and burnt her alive. They claimed she was blasphemous to Allah.
It cannot be imagined that even in a school, a student can be set ablaze by her fellow students in a tertiary institution without interference by security guards. Where were the security guards when the ugly incident occurred. Does it mean that they were in support of Deborah’s death.
Although after the incident, the Sokoto State Government ordered the closure of the institution and the release of the students who were arrested for burning the female Christian student to death.
Also, a 24-hour curfew was imposed in Sokoto State by its government over riots due to the killing. Religious tolerance should be the watchword for every Nigerian citizen irrespective of the type of worship.
Let us assume that Deborah made abusive statements against the practice of Islam, she should have been cautioned. I have not seen where Christians reacted so quickly to blasphemy against another faith. Christians are always peaceful in their obedience and practice to their religion.
When a Christian worship centre is burnt, there will not be war, but if otherwise, assume what will happen. The types of religion that are practised in Nigeria should signify peace. Clerics need to continue to teach what peace means properly among the various religions being practised in the country.
Report has it that when the institution’s security got hint of the situation, she was taken to the security post, where they were over-powered by the mob. If the security in that college wanted to save Deborah, why did they not invite security agents who would have come to disperse the crowd and save the girl?
When will people stop taking laws into their hands? If the aggrieved students felt that Deborah was blasphemous, they should have sued her to Sharia Court where she would have defended herself.
Human beings have no right to judge others on blasphemy. Whichever religion one practises, that person’s faith should be personal. If they felt that Deborah had offended the supreme head of their belief, they are not the ones to judge. Whether in Christianity or Islam, nobody has the right to judge. This is because there is judgement day when every man must give account of his or her work on earth.
Now that they have killed Deborah, if proven by the court, are they not guilty? Even before God, Jesus or Mohammed, are they taught to kill a fellow human?
If you think a person has uttered blasphemous words, allow God to judge. We cannot continue to lose young women whose future is bright. We cannot continue to lose nation builders. We are talking about gender sensitivity and women emancipation, some persons are ignorant of the fact that more women need to be empowered.
A lot of persons and groups have condemned the manner in which Deborah was killed. It should not just be condemnation, but action should be taken to ensure that those behind such dastardly act are brought to book. When they are dealt with according to the law, others who may be nursing further bad intentions will learn their lesson. It will also serve as a deterrent to others.
I thought Nigerian Christian and Muslims are brothers and sisters. People of various faith should live in harmony.
Like Sheikh Ahmad Gumi said: “Nigeria is not an Islamic state, Muslims in the country have an agreement with people of other faiths to live together peacefully and anyone who kills them on religious guise has committed a grievous sin”.
Deborah has gone. Sympathy goes to her parents and others left behind. Whether anybody protests or not, what can be done?
Christians who find themselves within the domain especially where the ugly incident occurred must comfort themselves and display a sense of maturity.
People should not be killing in the name of religion and at every little provocation. Those who killed Deborah also disobey and insult Allah.
Like the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama said,: “Religion means to wish others well to show compassion, mutual support and cooperation for what sues for peace, justice and equity”.
He said love is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, rich in mercy and reaches out to all.
To Christians, retaliation may not be the answer but giving peace a chance is better while investigation and action by both government and security agencies continue.
By: Eunice Choko-Kayode
NGO Urges Edo Women To Mitigate GBV
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development Initiative (GWSD) has urged women in leadership positions in Edo State to use their various offices to mitigate Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the society.
Executive Director of GWSD, Mrs Mariam Kadiri-Ezolome, stated this during a capacity building on stimulating women for leadership positions, held in Benin on Monday.
The Tide’s source reports that the training was aimed at mitigating GBV through protection.
Kadiri-Ezolome said GBV would be alleviated in the society, if more women were empowered and speak out against it.
“As women leaders, you should relate more with women at the grassroots; know what they are going through and see that they are empowered to bridge the gender gaps in the society.
“Women leaders should give other women, especially at community level, the voice to speak out against GBV.
“Also, some women don’t know what GBV is and as women in leadership, it is expected that we create awareness about it,” she said.
Speaking on violence against women during elections, the Founder, Echoes of Women in Africa, Mrs Louisa Eikhomun-Agbonkhese, said that electoral violence were mostly targeted at women and girls, thus preventing them from exercising their franchise.
Eikhomun-Agbonkhese added that women were sometimes scared to speak out against GBV in the political space due to fear of the leadership structure.
In her remarks, Executive Director, Women, Youths and Children Advancement Programme, Mrs Agatha Osieke, said women should equip themselves with relevant skills to enable them rise above GBV.
“You should know what you are seeking for: that you want to bring positive change. You need relevant skills, research, negotiation, listening and more.
“Women need to come up with a roadmap to change the narrative that women are not ready to hold political positions,” she said.
The source reports that GWSD is a non-profit organisation dealing with issues concerning women, youths and people in the community.
The group also provides varied services, geared toward improving the quality of life of its beneficiaries for sustainable development.
The source also reports that the capacity building was organised by GWSD and funded by European Union, in partnership with Agent for Citizens Driven Transformation, through the British Council.
Coping With Pregnancy In Married Young Woman
After marriage ceremonies, healthy couples pray for babies to come as they are referred to be fruits of marriage. Children also are source of joy to families. Although it is not a war zone when children do not come after marriages.
Young mothers need to adequately understand the various stages in pregnancy and how to go through the stages with minimum anxiety to be able to give birth to healthy babies.
They also need to know how to take proper care of the babies when they are born.
Pregnancy starts when conception occurs. Every pregnancy comes with its peculiarities. When pregnancy occurs, the woman notices many changes in her body.
As a young woman, the monthly period ceases, while breasts become full, firm and nipples become large and darker.
There is a likelihood of experience nausea or morning sickness lie, early discomfort, frequent pouring of saliva and sometimes vomiting. The woman also experiences sleeping excessively in the morning. Loss of appetite sometimes comes up when a woman becomes pregnant.
When a woman becomes pregnant as it is confirmed by a gynecologist, it is necessary that she attends antenatal care in a hospital. It is also known as prenatal care, which is given to the pregnant woman and the unborn child.
Experts say the importance of this is to ensure that the pregnant woman and the unborn child receive proper medical care to prepare them for safe delivery.
During the antenatal care period, the pregnant woman is made to undergo certain tests such as urine and blood, blood pressure and weight check, abdominal examination and pelvic assessment.
The advantages of antenatal care cannot be over emphasized as the mother-to-be is given all necessary medical treatments required for her safety of the unborn baby.
During antenatal care, complications are detected early and remedies are provided.
Maternity personnel like the midwives and staff nurses give adequate training on what to expect during delivery especially by young women who may be new to it.
The kinds of food to be consumed by the expectant mothers are normally identified, even the types of cloths to put on.
The kind of clothes a pregnant woman puts on also matters. \it is good to avoid all those tight jeans trousers around the waist. Maintaining good hygiene becomes necessary so that both the mother and the child will be free from diseases.
When a woman is delivered of a newborn, medical experts advise that she attends postnatal care, that is the care that the mother and her baby attends for medical check-up for six weeks.
Pregnancy is associated with some common problems. Constipation in which defecation is not frequent and sometimes passing of faces is hard. The problem is increased by the pressure on the lower abdominal region caused by enlarged uterus.
Heartburn is another problem associated with pregnancy. It is the passage of small amount of stomach contents into the lower part of the digestive tract. It is caused by enlarging uterus pressing against the stomach.
Some pregnant women experience leg cramps at night. It is experienced more at the late stage of the pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting are the commonest which a lot of women suffer during pregnancy.
In some women, it stops after about three months. Weight gain comes up for some. But expert’s advice for regular weight check-up so that it doesn’t become excessive.
Some items needed for the care of new born: toiletries for mother and child, feeding tools if need be, spoons and cups, sanitary towel for mother.
Mother’s brassiere, night wears, bedspread for both mother and child.
The baby needs things such as vest, pars of socks, sweater, cap, napkin and diaper.
During the postnatal care, doctors examine the nursing mother to ensure that she is okay.
Such things as her weight, urine, blood pressure and blood haemegblobin are checked. There have been cases here after delivery, some mothers experience swollen legs. The baby alongside the mother is also examined.
By: Eunice Choko-Kayode with agency report
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