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Friday, July 19, 2024

Widowhood Is Neither a Curse, Nor a Justification for Wrongdoing — Anambra Commissioner, Obinabo



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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Hon. Mrs. Ify Obinabo, has said being a widow is neither a curse and death sentence to warrant the various kinds of evil practices slammed against the widows, nor should it be seen as an excuse and justification for some women to indulge in different kinds of atrocities and illegalities, just to make ends meet.

Commissioner Obinabo disclosed this in an exclusive interview with this reporter, Izunna Okafor, on the 2024 International Widows’ Day and its significance.

According to her, the International Widows’ Day, observed annually on June 23, remains a special day to remember, celebrate, support, and encourage the widows globally, adding that widows are special class of people in the society. She hinted that widows often bear the full responsibility of providing for their families, a task, she said, is most times, made even more difficult by societal and familial pressures.

She, however, explained that the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, and his wife, Mrs. Nonye Soludo, have remained ever committed to supporting, defending, protecting and making life more meaningful for the widows in the state.

The Commissioner explained that the Soludo Administration has implemented several policies and programs that still positively affect and impact the widows today, including the various legal frameworks designed to offer them necessary protection.

“We also have strong established mechanisms to ensure their mental well-being, which is crucial for their ability to carry out the various responsibilities that fall on their shoulders, especially as it concerns providing and caring for their families,” she said.

While praising the efforts of the Governor and his wife in championing the affairs and well-being of widows in the State; Commissioner Obinabo, however, expressed concerns about some actions of some widows, who see their widowhood condition as an excuse to indulge in wrongdoings and illegalities, or to neglect their primary parental roles of training their children morally, spiritually and otherwise, thereby channelling all their times and attention to moneymaking.

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Though acknowledging the harsh economic realities in the country, the Commissioner urged the widows never to think of resorting to negative actions or illegal means to make ends meet, stressing that such actions always have serious and dangerous consequences.

“Negativity and illegality shouldn’t be an option or alternative at all, despite the situation. God is there for them. They should always look up to and put their trust in God; and they will see that, of a truth, this God we are serving is a God that will never let his children down.

“They should also know that these our children copy a lot. They are copycats! So, the widows and parents in general should understand that whatever thing that they do, their children copy it, and do it even more than them.

“And so, if, as a widow, you spend your youthful age as a young lady messing around, overlooking the work that your late husband left for you, which is training of your children, knowing fully well that these children are the people that will take care of you in old age when you must have been tired, weak; be rest assured that, by those bad things you did, you’ve already planned your old age to be filled up with crisis; and these children will give it to you,” the Commissioner warned, urging the widows to always remember that there is old age and to also lay good foundation for their children and for their old age.

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Continuing, she said, “This training of children we are talking about is not necessarily about money. Yes, widows should make money too, because money is very important. But, it is also very more important as well that you are always there morally for your children, teaching them the right way to go, and providing moral, spiritual, and otherwise guidance to them.”

Regarding some harmful cultural practices perpetrated against the widows and other intimidations they are periodically subjected to, Commissioner Obinabo, who described such as rubbish, emphasized that the Solution Government has zero tolerance for such and has fought many legal battles against such, with many still in the court.

“We are fighting them. We are liaising with traditional rulers and town PGs. You see, most times, when someone dies, instead of the people burying their brother, some of them will begin to look for ways to takeover the deceased’s property and leave the widow empty-handed. The Soludo Administration is not condoning or tolerating any such rubbish.”

When asked her impression about Anambra widows, the Commissioner, who said a typical Anambra person is hardworking, further extolled the hard-working nature of Anambra widows, while also reassuring them of the state government’s continuous support and concern for their well-being.

Launched in 2010 by the United Nations, the International Widows’ Day, which is celebrated annually on June 23, is a special day to raise awareness of the violation of human rights that widows suffer in many countries following the death of their spouses.

The theme for this year’s edition is “Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality”

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