NGO advocates end to harmful cultural practices against widows

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By Ibironke Ariyo

The Royal Ambassadors Charity Home, has called for an end to harmful cultural practices against widows in the country.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Amb. Jonathan Okwudiri made the call during the inauguration of the Abuja executive working team of the charity home, on Saturday.

Okwudiri said that the maltreatment of widows and other vulnerable women in the society should be stopped to enable them exercise their rights as citizens.

He said that those perpetrating the acts were insensitive to the harm done to widows under the guise of culture and tradition.

The executive director expressed concern that the victims have been left to suffer in silence by the society.

“It is a debt society owes itself as a mutually functional growing unit to protect the vulnerable ones among them.

“I have discovered that in Nigeria, widows are neglected, victimised, intimidated and humiliated,” he added.

“Our culture and society are not favourable to them at all. The worst part of it all is that when any widow doesn’t have male children, the relatives of her late husband gives her trouble.

“They disturb and frustrate such widow by trying to possess what their late brother acquired before his death.”

Okwudiri said that the organisation has assembled a team of advocates and human right activists to advocate for the rights of widows, including their protection and welfare.

He said that the advocacy would include pushing for a law by the National Assembly to protect the rights and privileges of widows.

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“We are very much aware that there is no specific law in Nigeria that protects widow’s right unlike the People with Disabilities and children that have laws passed for their protection,” he said.

Okwudiri also said that the organisation would undertake regular empowerment of widows through skills acquisition and free medical healthcare services.

He added that the organisation had registered a multipurpose cooperative society to grant loans and agricultural empowerment packages to members.

Okwudiri appealed to government, corporate organisations, civil society groups and individuals to support the empowerment programmes of the organisation targeted at widows.

In her speach, the National Coordinator of People with Disabilities, Mrs Dorcas Ameh called on the public to stop labeling the PWDs, but support them to be self reliant.

Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated Abuja Chapter executive working team, the Coordinator, Amb. Goodluck Ikiebe appreciated the leadership of the organisation for giving them the opportunity to serve.

Ikiebe lauded the organisation boss for his doggedness and hard work, assuring that they would be diligent in realising objectives of the organisation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Royal Ambassadors Charity Home was set up to help, care and empower orphans, widows, PwDs, abandoned children, destitute, the poor and other vulnerable persons. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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