IMPLEMENT LAWS AGAINST VIOLENCE & OTHER HARMFUL WIDOWHOOD PRACTICES — RESPONDENTS BEG GOVT

REPORTER: ONYINYE CHIJIOBI

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the international widow’s day, some concerned citizens of Anambra State have called for full implementation of the law on violence against women to put an end to harmful widowhood practices in the country.

The people made the call while speaking on various degrees of harmful practices targetted at widows, during separate interviews to mark the day.

The death of a husband is a tragedy that befalls a woman as it marks a physical end of her marital sojourn with the heartrob.

According to some commentators, this is a time to sympathize and empathize with the widows to enable to withstand the emotional and psychological trauma associated with the loss.

Unfortunately, the reverse is the case in some cultural backgrounds, where the helpless widows are subjected to various forms of in-human treatment.

In Nigeria, they face psychological and financial challenges as well as the burden of raising their children alone alongside cultural demands of widowhood.

Speaking on the importance of the day, a university lecturer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ojukwu, pointed out that most cultural practices in Nigeria still subjected women to multiple tragedies of loss of husbands, family rejection and denial of rights.

The Lecturer, insisted that obnoxious practices which bring untold hardship upon the widows should be discouraged with strict implementation of violence against persons prohibition laws.

Similarly, a widow, Mrs. Monica Okoyeocha, who narrated her ordeal, appealed to government to implement existing laws and policies meant to eradicate harmful practices against widows in the country.

Another respondent, Mrs. Anene Alison, explained that the theme of the day, “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems,” highlighted the need for the society to become intentional in addressing the problem facing the widows.

A woman leader, Mrs. Rose Onuha, decried the complicity of fellow women in the predicaments of the widows.

For his part, Mr. Mandela Chinaza, encouraged widows who were going through hard times to speak up and get assistance.

The respondents urged governments to effectively enforce laws to protect widows and widowers against harmful and barbaric practices.

They also stressed the need for sustained awareness creation on widows’ fundamental rights, even as they appealed to philanthropists and other public spirited individuals to support them and other less-privileged women in the country.

EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU

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