Touch of Love and Lifting Hands Foundation, an NGO for the welfare of widows, elderly and less privileged on Wednesday renewed calls for national policy to enhance the welfare of widows.
The CEO/Founder of the foundation, Mrs Atinuke Owolabi, decried sharp widowhood practices and other violations of widows’ rights in Nigeria, during a programme to mark the International Widows Day, in Ifako Ijaye, Lagos.
Owolabi said most widows became poor after losing their spouses because of injustice, adding that, some of them were usually denied inheritance, land rights, evicted from their homes, ostracised and abused.
She said children of widows were also not spared from difficult moments, which made them vulnerable to abuses.
Owolabi said the 2021 International Widows Day themed, “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems” denoted unseen challenges and neglect they suffered from the society.
She called on policy makers in all tiers of government to formulate policies and laws targeting specific needs of widows by creating jobs for them and addressing other issues that would enhance their welfare.
“International Widows Day works to encourage action in achieving full rights for widows, highlighting the need for more research and statistics into violence, discrimination and poverty suffered by widows and develop policies and programmes to address the problem,” she said.
According to her, the ultimate goal of the celebration is to develop resources and policy to empower widows and give them access to education, work, healthcare and lives free of violence and abuse.
“Enabling them to create a life for themselves and their children following the death of their husband and ending a cycle of poverty and abuse.
“On this note, we call on our respective local and state legislatures, executives and judiciaries to enact, execute and interpret legislations that will guarantee a future assured for widows in our society,” she said.
Owolabi, a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and former APC Chairmanship candidate in Ifako Ijaye, advised widows in the nation to remain steadfast, resilient and hopeful, assuring that, things would get better for them.
She announced an upgrade in the NGO’s facilities at its day care center for old people, widows and the less privileged.
She said the day care offered three free meals, recreational activities and daily health checks for the elderly and widows and urged Lagos residents to take advantage of the facility to help elderly citizens and widows deal with boredom and loneliness.