By Suleiman Shehu
Ibadan, Sept. 30, 2020 An NGO, The Channel for Widow Relief Initiative (CFWRI), has called on governments at all levels to empower widows in order to reduce their sufferings, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Founder of CFWRI, Alhaja Fadhilah Balogun, made the call on Wednesday during the celebration of this year’s International Widows Day in Ibadan.
Naija247news reports that CFWRI is a women-focused NGO catering for the needs of widows and their children.
Balogun noted that widows in Nigeria were currently facing a lot of challenges and needed empowerment from government and other well-meaning individuals to alleviate their sufferings.
According to her, widows and their children in Nigeria and the world at large are suffering from extreme poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and exposure to diseases, among others.
Balogun said that empowering the widows would, therefore, enable them to be independent, take care of their children and address other challenges.
“Persecution and abuse of widows and their children are not limited to the developing world. Large groups of widows suffering similar fate can also be found in Europe, including Russia and Central Asia.
“Many widows in developed countries also face social isolation and commonly live with severe poverty due to lack of affordable healthcare care and employment,” she said.
In her lecture, Dr Shakirat Olanlege, said that widows in Nigeria were passing through a lot of difficulties, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown and needed the assistance of all and sundry.
Olanlege called on widows to take the issue of their health as a priority.
In her remarks, the Oyo State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni, commended the founder of CFWRI for her efforts at assisting the widows and their children.
Sanni, who was represented by Mrs Ighen Ibironke, also expressed appreciation to the NGOs in the state for supporting the government in assisting the less-privileged in the society.
She said that the empowerments being given to widows at the occasion were at no cost to the state government.
NAN reports no fewer than four widows were empowered with N25,000 each, while another graduate-widow was given a sewing machine.
Among the empowered widows was a 26-year-old mother of two, Mrs AbdulAzeez Salmah, who lost her husband in a motor accident in 2017 on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.