Group seeks legislation to forbid forceful takeover of widows’ inheritance

Mrs Atinuke Owolabi, CEO/Founder, Touch of Love and Lifting Hands Foundation and some widows

AN advocacy group on Wednesday pleaded with the National Assembly to enact legislation, forbidding forceful takeover of the inheritance of widows in the country.

Mrs Atinuke Owolabi, founder of the Touch of Love and Lifting Hands Foundation, made the appeal at a rally in Ijaiye, near Ikeja, to mark the 2020 International Widows’ Day.

She lamented that widows, numbering about 258 million worldwide had been at the receiving end of practices that had resulted to nearly one in every 10 widows living in extreme poverty.

Owolabi said that vacuums caused by loneliness and traumatic conditions had made life difficult for many widows and that their conditions were made worse by societal neglect.

She said that it had become imperative for the National Assembly to enact a law to ban forceful takeover of inheritance meant for widows, to ensure the survival of the widows.

Owolabi also called for empowerment policies to assist widows in an increasingly harsh economic environment, where many people, especially lack access to employment.

“Even when national laws exist to protect the rights of widows, weaknesses in the judicial systems of many states compromise how widows’ rights are defended in practice.

“Lack of awareness and discrimination by judicial officials can cause widows to avoid turning to the justice system to seek reparations,’’ she stated.

According to her, the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the global economy are making it difficult for non-governmental groups to reach widows to offer assistance to them.

“In post-conflict situations, widows should be brought in to participate fully in peace building and reconciliation processes to ensure that they contribute to sustainable peace and security.

“And in the context of COVID-19, widows must not be left out of our work to “build a back better society”. Let us ensure that our recovery prioritizes their unique needs and supports society to become more inclusive, resilient, and equal for all.

“The recent distribution of palliatives by different organs of government, groups, and individuals shows that widows in our society are invisible unless made visible by organisations.

“As women, they have specific needs but their voices and experiences are often absent from policies that impact their survival,” Owolabi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that widows at the event were given cooked food and drinks as well as liquid soap, hand sanitizers, face masks, and other hygiene items. The theme of the rally was: “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems”. (NAN)

– Jun. 25, 2020 @ 10:59 GMT |

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