INDEPENDENCE GIFT FOR WIDOWS
A cross section of widows in Ebonyi State wants the Federal and State Governments to introduce social safety net programmes aimed at creating basic financial security and unfettered access to health services for them.
They made the call at Elders and widows party organised by the State Government as part of activities to commemorate the nation’s 59th Independence Anniversary and 23rd celebration for the creation of the State at Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium.
It is estimated that about two hundred and forty five million widows live around the world out of which One hundred and fifteen million are believed to be living in abject poverty and neglect.
Some widows in Ebonyi State fell into this category and survive on menial jobs, sex work and begging while their children are denied access to education and health services for lack of money.
One of them, MrsBuki Sunday whose husband died while engaging in military campaign against Boko Haram insurgents told Radio Nigeria that she had been finding it difficult to train her four children since the demise of their father.
Another widow, Mrs. Oluchukwu Onwukwe who said her husband died four years ago pointed out that her economic challenge worsened after the death of her brother inlaw who took up the responsibility of catering for her family after the death of her husband.
A widow, Mrs. Benedeth Nwuzor said Ebonyi State Government had performed creditably in the provision of succor to widows but called for the accommodation of more number of them in its empowerment programme.
To address the economic challenges facing widows in Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi led administration floated an empowerment programme covering about four thousand, three hundred of them.
The Senior Special Adviser to the State Governor on Religious and Welfare Matters, Very Reverend Abraham Nwali explained that since the introduction of the programme about four thousand widows had been given one hundred thousand Naira to start up business in addition to monthly stipend.