..26,000 already registered in the welfare scheme
To mark the 2022 International Widows Day, the Wife of Ondo State Governor, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has reassured widows in State that the state government will continue to prioritize their needs.
Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu gave the assurances today in Akure, the State capital, to commemorate the occasion.
The 2022 International Widows Day is themed: “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems”.
The First Lady who is the initiator of Ondo Widows Care, in the statement, revealed that the Ondo Widows’ Care website launched in 2020 through her office and the Ministry of Women Affairs with the sole aim of catering to their needs has over 26,000 widows registered.
“Their statistics such as age, employment status, demography etc. are available to the Government through the Office of the First Lady and this will enable the government to plan, manage and evenly distribute resources to the widows.
“For emphasis, it is worthy to note that the government of the day in Ondo State, led by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has always shown his unflinching support to cater for the welfare of citizens.
“This was evidenced in the COVID-19 relief tour my office embarked on in 2020 across the 18 LGAs where thousands of registered widows received incentives and other goodies regardless of party, religion or age,” Anyanwu-Akeredolu said.
Highlighting the importance of the International Widows Day, the First Lady said it was for the celebration of the strongest of women folk; those who have had a share of the unexpected pain and devastation that come with losing a life partner.
“Although the problems associated with widowhood are not peculiar to Ondo State or Nigeria, it is a global concern, let me assure the widows in our sunshine state we are with you.
“Our friends and sisters, we know the struggle and we acknowledge the pain, and we are here not just to celebrate you but reassure you that we will stand with you and support you,” she said.
The First Lady also noted that gender inequality still limits the access of women to their pensions and this factor has created a high likelihood for women to become destitute following the demise of a spouse.
She said: “We know how hard it can be for a couple to provide for and protect the family in developing countries like Nigeria, to then think how tough it will be to do the same as a widow is simply unimaginable.
“Most widows around us suffer in silence, their fundamental human rights are sometimes threatened in their search for daily bread and other traumatic experiences.
“As a decent society, we must extend our hands of fellowship, identify with these women and provide every necessary support.”
She said that the theme of the 2022 International Widows Day seeks to showcase how the identity of a woman in a society is attached to her partner and after his death and how the problems faced by the widow are ignored by policymakers.
The First Lady called on all and sundry to continue to show compassion and care for widows.
Anyanwu-Akeredolu lauded all partners in progress, and stakeholders, mostly women advocate groups, for unrelenting support for widows in Ondo State, urging the widows to be courageous and not be overwhelmed.
Oluwatobi O. Fademi,
Senior Special Assistant, Media (WoG)