Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate, Thursday, urged federal and state governments to make conscious efforts in protecting the rights of women, especially widows as contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
This followed a four-prayer motion moved by Senator Binta Marsi Garba to commemorate the International Widows’ Day, which is celebrated on June 23 every year.
The Senate adopted all four prayers in the motion, and, therefore, encouraged and reassured widows worldwide and in Nigeria that they would never be alone in their struggles.
It also urged government at the federal and state levels to domesticate and implement the provisions of the Violence Against Persons Act.
The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs was also encouraged to implement programmes that would empower and educate women in Nigeria especially widows.
Garba came under a Point of Order to present her motion as the motion was not originally slated for consideration in the Order Paper.
While presenting the motion, she noted that the International Widows Day was set aside to draw attention to the plight of widows worldwide.
She observed that widows and children are often stigmatised and exposed to extreme forms of deprivation, social isolation forced marriage and abuse.
“Statistics show that as at 2015, there were 269 million widows in the world: over 150 million widows live in abject suffer from social stigmatisation. Over one million children of widows die before their 5th birthday: they often face child marriage, illiteracy, labour, human trafficking, homelessness and sexual abuse,” she said.
In his remark, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, urged all Nigerians, especially those in positions of authority to always identify with widows around them.
He said that although God is the husband of widows, it was important that they be assisted in any way possible.
On his part, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said that the adoption of the motion showed the importance, which the Senate attached to the plight of widows in Nigeria.
He reiterated that it was important to make conscious effort to address the sufferings of widows in Nigeria.