By Ebun Sessou
Convener, Great Life Changers Foundation, Bishop Chioma Grace Dauji, has called on the National Assembly, to as a matter of urgency enact laws that will protect the rights of Nigerian widows in accessing the wills meant for them and their children.
Dauji also proposed all states of the federation should ensure that bills protecting the rights of widows are sponsored, approved adopted and also enforced accordingly.In a statement signed and made available to WO, Dauji explained that the legislative arm of government should formulate laws and also review existing policies to protect the rights of widows in the society.
The said law, she reiterated should criminalise all forms of unhealthy and abusive traditional practices against widows in the country.According to her, “There is an urgent need for traditional rulers who are the custodians of our culture to review all customs and traditional practices which tend to humiliate widows. Husbands while alive, should state in specific terms their wives’ share of property in event of death. She added that they should also update their life and employment insurance, banking and other relevant records to reflect their spouses as next of kin.
”All relevant stakeholders should join forces in tackling the challenges of widowhood through developmental projects and empowerment. “Opportunities should be provided to widows for skills acquisition and training to guarantee employment and income generation. Widows should be encouraged to form cooperative societies at both local and state levels of government to provide opportunities for counseling, mentoring and advocacy for actions among others.”
There is need for massive enlightment and campaigns on harmful cultural practices against the fundamental human rights of widows including oath- taking, cutting of hair, sacrifices to the dead, incarceration or mourning house, marginalisation, among others.
“Shelter and refuge centers should be established for widows in crises and other vulnerable groups. Bills should be passed on how to alleviate the challenges of the following set of widows in Nigeria: Those married without a child within a certain age or to the event of the death of the husband. Those married and blessed with female children where tradition denies female children of their inheritance.
”Those married and blessed with children who could not take care of their mothers as a widow but are in possession of the family estate,” she said.