In commemoration of this year’s “International Widows Day”, the wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun has empowered widow representatives from the three Senatorial Districts of the State.
The widows were empowered with tools such as sewing machines, hair dryers, food items and cash, among others, at an event held at the Mitros Hall, GRA, Ibara, Abeokuta, the State capital.
The first Lady reiterated her commitment to the welfare of the women folk in the State, laying particular emphasis on the underprivileged widows.
Speaking on the theme of the year’s commemoration, “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”, Mrs. Abiodun stressed the need to ensure the rights of widows in the society and provide them with access to basic rights they were entitled to.
Her words, “Now, more than ever, action is needed to ensure the full rights and recognition of widows. These include, providing them with information and access to a fair share of their inheritance, including lands, pensions and social protection that are not based on marital status alone, decent work and equal pay and education and training opportunities”.
She said many societies had ignored the plight of widows and that their rights were often trampled upon by extended families and local traditions, calling on everyone to assist in alleviating burdens placed on them by tradition and change the harmful practices.
According to her, there are about 258 million widows across the world and 1in10 of them lived in extreme poverty, a situation she decried, promising to ensure that widows in Ogun State were continuously cared for and empowered.
“Personally, l want our widows to be able to determine their lives and their future, I want them to be able to make choices that will benefit them and their children. “Our aim is to minimize the financial exposure of widows and ensure that they are cared for”.
She highlighted the efforts of the present administration specifically targeted at helping the widows to include, their empowerment during the 2019, International Widows Day, Oko’ wo Dapo and the distribution of palliatives during the Covid-19, pandemic lockdown with an assurance that the administration is soon to unveil more of the initiatives.
In an address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon. Funmi Efuwape, enjoined the widows to utilize the various empowerment items and cash given to them judiciously for their benefits and those of their families.
The beneficiaries, represented by Mrs. Dupe Balogun from Ifo Local Government Area, appreciated the First Lady for the kind gesture and prayed for the success of the administration.