By Joy Iwelu
The wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabirin Betty Anyawu-Akeredolu, has called on all Nigerians to continue to show support and care for widows who are saying they are usually marginalised and forgotten in society.
She made this call in commemoration of the International Widows’ Day, marked globally every 23rd of June to create awareness of the plight faced by widows and highlight solutions to these problems.
Anyawu-Akeredolu who noted that this year’s theme: Invisible women, invisible problems, also seeks to bring to attention the miseries, issues, and challenges faced by women immediately after the death of their husbands, urged society to rally round widows to help them ease the burdens of their situation.
According to her: “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.
She explained further that the office of the First Lady, through Ondo State Government last year launched the widow’s website so that widows in every nook and cranny of Ondo State can register, regardless of who they are.
“The widows on this site are visible to the government. The statistics such as age, employment status, and demography among others, 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.
“Today, we have over twenty- six thousand widows on the site. The site is accessible to all to view.
“The effects of economic hardship across the country are undeniable so let me assure you that challenges faced as widows will not be ignored and the government of Ondo State will continue to provide succour,” she added.
She lauded every stakeholder, notably, women advocate groups, for supporting and defending widows and their dependents in their domains.
She, however, urged widows to be courageous and not to be physically and emotionally exhausted by their grief, adding that the government will not relent in protecting their rights.