By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA — It was an emotion laden occasion for widows of policemen who died in the course of duty, yesterday, in Abeokuta.
One of the widows, Janet Peter, fought back tears as she reached for the edge of her wrapper to wipe her face.
Janet, who was presented with a grinding machine by the Commissioner of Police’s wife, Mrs Amaka Ikemefuna, to at least provide her with a source of income, said it has not been easy coping with nine children she had for her late husband, Friday Peter, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP.
Narrating her ordeal, she said: “We thank our mummy (Mrs Ikemefuna) for this empowerment programme. May God continue to bless her. It has not been easy to cope as a widow. My husband served in Ogun for years before he was transferred to Osun State. He died after three years of service in that state last year after a brief illness.”
Another widow, Mrs Esther Ezenwata, mother of four, whose husband was killed by a vehicle while trying to rescue some victims at an accident scene, also narrated her ordeal since she lost her husband, Mr. Joseph Ezenwata, who was an Assistant Superintendent of Police.
She said: “Since my husband died, life has not been the same again. He cared for me and the children and he never allowed us to suffer any want. But now, I am left to take care of the four children.
“I could not pay the school fees of one of them who attends a public secondary school in Abeokuta. In fact, he is the one fending for himself now through menial jobs. We appeal to the government to assist us in paying school fees of our children and then they should empower us economically, as POWA is doing today.”
One of the children of one of the late policemen who gave his name simply as Jeremiah, also called on government to come to the aid of children of policemen who lost their lives in line of duty.
He lamented that when his father died it was the church, where the father was a member, that took care of his burial expenses.
At least 45 wives and 13 children of dead policemen, who lost their lives either through sickness, accident or slain by robbers in the course of their official duty, were empowered by the state POWA.
Mrs Ikemefuna assures widows
While distributing empowerment items to the affected wives and children of Policemen such as grinding machines, bags of rice, school bags, coolers, packs of noodles among others, the state coordinator of POWA, Mrs Amaka Ikemefuna, pledged not to abandon the widows and their children, including orphans.
She said the Ogun POWA was complementing the effort of its national president, Mrs. Zarah Bunu Abubakar.
“It has been the practice of Ogun State Police Officers’ Wives Association to stretch hands of love to the less-privileged in the state,” she said.
The Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, who was also present at the occasion, noted that it was a sad memory to lose loved ones while performing their duty. He promised that the command would not abandon those who had lost their loved ones.
He said: “This empowerment programme is to tell our brothers, sisters, daughters and wives that we are still part of them. They should let us know whatever they are going through.”
Speaking shortly after some received different empowerment items from the POWA, the widows pleaded with the Federal Government to show concern to their plight, saying life has been extremely difficult since their breadwinners departed