Advocacy for Widows Empowerment Foundation (AWEF), a registered non-governmental organization with the cutting edge of advocating for the rights of widows and empowerment, have urged the Nigerian senate to enact new legislation to eradicate the various inhuman treatments meted to widows across the country under the guise of outdated cultural norms as recently demonstrated by the Governments of Akwa Ibom and Imo states respectively.
It would be recalled that the Governor of Akwa Ibom state Chief Godswill Akpabio declared based on a bill enacted by the state house of Assembly that the custom of drinking deceased corpse water by widows, shaving their hair and depriving widows of inheritance in the state is now illegal, inhuman, abolished and punishable by a fine or risk 3 years in jail under the law if flouted.
In a similar vein monarchs from Imo state traditional councils (Ndi- Eze) in Owerri rose from a recent traditional parliament meeting that henceforth, widows in the state are now entitled to 100% inheritance of their late husband’s estate/ properties also no widow would be forced to marry their late husband’s male relatives without the consent of the widow.
This latest developments is a pointer that widows whom are inhumanly treated and considered the poorest and most stigmatized by our society, are beginning to get respite in respect to the violation of their human rights over the years.
We in Advocacy for Widows Empowerment Foundation (AWEF) is urging the senate to follow suite and put up the necessary machinery to enact a holistic legislation that would make it unconstitutional and illegal for other state Governments and communities whom are still practicing the timid and outdated form of cultural slavery against widows in our society to stop the practice hence forth by a new legislation.
According to the founder of the foundation Mr Willie Workman-Oga he explained that it is the intension of the NGO to contribute positively to the lives of widows, while aligning with government agencies, traditional rulers and other international organizations who have passion for widows’ empowerment.
He stressed further that AWEF desires to also help widows that already have businesses upgrade their business, while those in the verge of starting a business would be empowered such that they can contribute positively to the upliftment of widowhood and the community in which they reside.
The vision of the Foundation is to see the total liberation of widows from the ugly norms of deprivation of inheritance and abuse of their human rights to a place where they are encouraged, nurtured to discover and utilize their hidden entrepreneurial skills by becoming contributors to their community’s development as employers of labor.
Some of the Foundation’s roles are: to co-operate with existing NGOs to educate men on the need to write their wills early in life and also to make their wife’s their next of kin in all insurance, employment and banking document in order to ease the accessibility of funds for use of their family in instances of their spouses death.
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