Addressing the plights of widows has been one of the foundational focus of the united Nations General Assembly since 1997. Hence, June 23 each year takes the center stage as International Widows’ Day to raise awareness and sensitize people globally on the difficulties widows face such as discrimination and abuse of widows rights.
As the United Nation take step to advocate the protection of widows rights and to discourage the degrading treatment meted out to widows, a woman activist, Professor Joy Ezilo explained that widows often go through cruel and degrading funeral rites which were considered as violation of Human Rights especially rights to dignity of persons.
“The widow is expected to go out in the midnight, they have to swear to the family of the deceased husband that she did not have any hand in his death, bathing the corps and asking the woman to drink the water. Why is it so, if a man is meant todo so, then you cansay is not discriminatory. Why are you shaving that woman’s hair allow women to make their choice.”
Professor Ezilo, who is the Director, Women’s Aid Collective, WACOL, Enugu State, made the call on the occasion of the International Widow’s Day. She called on Government at all levels to intensify efforts towards addressing the plights of widows especially in the rural areas.
Professor Ezilo who emphasized that a women should not be subjected to servitude, bondage, slavery or torture urged government to enact laws that would abolish such barbaric ancient practices. Highlighting the essence of this year’s International Widow’s Day with the theme;“Not Alone”, The Enugu State Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Poverty Reduction, Deacon ObinnaMbeake noted that indigent widows in the state were provided with soft loans by the government to economically empower them.
“We have started to take stock of all the widows here. All were drawn from the 17 Local Government Areas of the State, as we pay them this money, it’s on going.”