The Wife of Anambra Governor, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano has decried the sustenance of obnoxious widowhood practices which deny victims basic rights in some communities in the state.
The governor’s wife said those still promoting such discriminatory and degrading acts must discard them and accord widows their rights as full-fledged members of the community.
Mrs. Obiano who doubles as the founder Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), an NGO, made the plea in a special message to mark the 2020 International Widows Day on Tuesday in Awka.
The statement was signed by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Emeka Ozumba.
Mrs. Obiano stated that situations where the rights of women are tied solely to their husbands’ is discriminatory, abhorrent and should be abolished.
“In this 21st century, it is disheartening and unpardonable to hear that a woman stands accused of the death of her husband and is therefore subjected to life threatening and painful mourning practices and rites.
“Often, such widows are separated from their children, and the properties of the diseased husbands rudely appropriated by their accusers.
“Thankfully, our laws have recognized the rights of women to inheritance, but such laws must be enforced to preserve the dignity of widows and the family unit,” she stated.
She urged community leaders where such practices persist, to discard such retrogressive practices which single out hapless widows at their most vulnerable moments for maltreatment in the name of tradition.
“Every widow deserves the right to work, access to healthcare and inheritance. No person or group should deny a widow her rights under false pretenses,” she emphasized.
Mrs. Obiano whose NGO, CAFE, is in the forefront of care and empowerment of indigent widows, has built free houses for 27 widows so far.
Mrs Obiano has equally offered thousands of widows free training on various life sustaining skills.
The governor’s wife commended the United Nations for dedicating a day of observance for widows which enhances awareness of the challenges they faced in some parts of the world.
She also thanked Gov. Willie Obiano for ensuring that issues concerning women, especially widows, are given priority in the state.
The International Widows Day is marked to draw attention to the plight of widows, generate resources and policy to empower and enable them create a life for themselves and their children.(NAN)