As part of activities to mark this year’s International Widows Day, the wife of the Governor, Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu joined millions of others across the world to celebrate Ondo State widows at an event organized by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ondo State.
International Widows Day is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries in the world.
At this year’s event in Ondo State, 40 widows from across the 18 local government areas of Ondo State were given some cash gifts as a way of supporting them and to encourage their economic empowerment.
Speaking at the event, Arabirin Akeredolu affirmed that the government was aware of the plights of these women and would do all in its power to ensure that they are never alone. “Never again are we going to leave our innocent women to go through these inhuman practices. Never again, are we going to allow our mothers, sisters, auties, nieces or whoever to be treated like slaves. This is why the global community of which you and I are members, is promising the widows that they are ‘never alone’ and they will never be alone. I want to assure our women that this is just the beginning and that the lots of women of the sunshine state will improve tremendously during the tenure of this administration.” she said
The wife of the governor further frowned at the fact that most abuses meted out on widows are often led by women, charged husbands on the need to protect their wives through joint ownership of properties stressing that it is duty of fathers to protect their daughters as welll.
The guest Lecturer, Bar. Olubunmi Arajuwa, the president, Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ondo State traced the historical practices and plights of widows across the country, noting that the initial voluntary self denial practiced by widows in the past metamorphosised into sharp practice that has now assumed acceptable status. She charged every member of the society to stand up against such violations of women stressing that widows must not be left alone.
Earlier in her address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Pharmacist Funmilayo Osundolire affirmed that the essence of the programme was to stop every form of discrimination against widows noting that they are often victimized and abused in the society.