A keynote Address by Her Excellency, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu in commemoration of the International Day of Widows on the 23rd of June, 2020.

we celebrate the strongest of the womenfolk; those who have had a share of the unexpected pain and devastation that come with losing a life partner. 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 same as a Widow is simply unimaginable. The problems associated to widowhood is not peculiar to Ondo State or Nigeria, it is a global concern. Even in developed climes, the gender inequality factor still limit women access to old age pension; making it more likely for the death of a spouse to destitution for older women.

Our friends and sisters, we know the struggle and we acknowledge the pain, and we are here not just to celebrate you but to assure you that we will stand with you and support you. Although the Government has in the past not made much efforts to develop an evidence-based programme that will cushion the effect of being a widow. I am delighted to inform you that the Akeredolu-led Administration will not turn a deaf ear to your needs. It is in a bid to ensure that you become visible for support and that the Ondo State Government, through the office of the First Lady of Ondo State and the ministry of Women Affairs launched the Ondo Widows’ Care Website. Through the website, we have been able to seamlessly collate the database of over 8,000 widows in Ondo State. With the database, it becomes easy for the State Government to plan for her widows.

Now, more than ever, we are expressing our commitment as a community to draw attention to the voices and experiences of Widows to galvanize the unique support that is peculiar to you all. Although we will not be able to take the place of your late spouse, we want to assure you that we will go an extra mile to ensure an enabling environment for you in the society and ensure you are not deprived of your rights and Privileges. Your inheritance must be protected, your pension must be prioritized and we will work to ensure you are empowered.

My dear sisters and mothers, we will always stand by you.

Thank you.