Wife of Edo State governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, has stepped up advocacy against harmful widowhood practices still prevalent in some parts of the state and Nigeria. She described the obnoxious practices against widows as barbaric and inhuman.
The governor’s wife gave this indication during a courtesy visit to her by the Felix King Foundation in the Government House. In attendance were the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Maryann Shuiabu, wife of the Speaker, Mrs Betty Okonoboh, wife of the Deputy Speaker, Mrs Elizabeth Aitivie, and a renowned comedian, Gordons.
Mrs Obaseki said time had come for concerted effort from government, NGOs, cooperate bodies and individuals to unite against all forms of harmful practices meted out on hapless and harmless widows, making their plight even more heart-breaking.
In her submission, the governor’s wife noted that the inhumane treatment against widows has been a norm in some African cultures. She advocated that such practices have to be eradicated completely and urgently.
She indicated the Edo State Government’s commitment towards alleviating the plight of the widows in the state, adding that every International Widows day will be celebrated in Edo to bring to the awareness of all the light emanating from the state. She pledged her support to the work of the foundation.
“With all hands on the deck, this state will be a shining example in Nigeria,” she said. She applauded the collaboration the foundation has with the State House of Assembly. She said, “You have taken your plans to the right quarters. I must commend your intelligence for knowing where the battle ground is and where to conquer. You went to collaborate with the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and I pray that God who gave it to you will see you through.”
She further added that she was convinced that Edo “will lead because I don’t think I have heard anyone do this in other states. Come Friday you will announce it that Edo is in the forefront of the fight against harmful treatment of widows.”
Commending the leader of the delegation and founder of the foundation, Mr Felix king Eiremiokhae, the Edo first lady said the initiative’s commitment to find ways to cushion the plight of widows in Edo state was reassuring and worthy of emulation. She expressed her delight with the work of the foundation, noting that it was a good development that the man returned home to champion the cause.
She used the occasion to call on “all well-meaning Edo people to come back home and make a difference because God has come to Edo State to do great things. I recall my husband kept saying how pathetic things were. I recall he was also away but now he is working and he is trying to encourage his friends who are Edo people to come and develop the state.”
In his remarks, Mr Felix said the foundation is a non-profit organisation which takes care of disadvantaged widows and their children through advocacy, empowerment, funding, and scholarships for children of such widows.
He stated that the foundation had in March this year empowered 96 disadvantaged widows spread across Edo State through skills acquisition and business start-up grants.
He said, “This foundation is my way of touching lives. This journey started two years ago and today we are one of the biggest advertising agency in Nigeria.
He expressed gratitude to the first lady for the opportunity to meet her and said the foundation would be ready to partner with her. “When we did opinion poll in the state, we realised that the people love you be because of your way of life and we believe if you add your voice we can fight this scourge of ill treatment against Widows,” he remarked.
Mrs Obaseki was presented a plaque and the flash card with “abolish maltreatment against widows”