… As WAPA Empowers 1000 Widows With Cash Gifts 

The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) on Wednesday, joined other nations of the world to celebrate this year’s International Widows’ Day with the presentation of cash gifts to 1,000 widows as livelihood support from the State Government. 

The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who made the cash presentations to the widows at an event organised by the Ministry, held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, said that the day had been set aside to focus on effective actions and advocacy on widows’ plight.

The wife of the State Governor, represented by Mrs. Abimbola Idowu, the wife of Ojo Local Government Chairman, gave an assurance that the present administration is committed to rendering necessary assistance to widows, just as she implored everyone to ensure that widows of all ages and their children are extended equal opportunities for employment and qualitative education.

On her part, the Honourable Commissioner, Mrs. Bolaji Dada stated that the gesture was one of several of other initiatives that Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s administration designed to identify with widows in the State, particularly through empowerment programmes targeted at self-reliance and economic growth.

While empathising with the widows, Mrs. Dada said that the State Government is exploring different avenues to ameliorate poverty and lessen the economic burden occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on the vulnerable. 

“The importance of this programme is to alleviate the economic hardship and possibly empower women with the aim of reducing poverty amongst beneficiaries, including young widows as well as children”, she stated. 

The Commissioner, who bemoaned the plight of most widows, asserted that “Many widows had to go through dehumanising experiences in the name of customs, others are sexually abused, forced into unwanted marriages and in some cultures, they are cut off from inheriting their spouses’ property”. 

These common ill-treatments, she said, leave most of the victims at the mercy of hostile in-laws, who throw them and their children out into the streets, thus, condemning the children’s fate to inadequate care and incomplete basic education.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of WAPA, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo informed that Lagos has promised to leave no woman behind in its efforts, noting that the Ministry increased the number of beneficiaries for this year’s Widow’s Day celebration.

She revealed that the Ministry is already working with the Lagos State House of Assembly to ensure that more widows in Lagos State benefit from the plans, programmes and policies of the government.

The representative of Family Care International, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Mrs. Grace Alexander, who spoke at the event, commended the Lagos State Government for celebrating the widows with cash gifts and the provision of start-up packs as a way of empowering them. 

Recall that globally, every 23rd of June is set aside to create awareness about the plight of women that have lost their spouses. The day focuses on highlighting solutions to these problems.