In order to give some widows a new lease of life and make this year's celebration a memorable one, no fewer than 40 widows spread across the 18 local government areas of Ondo State have been given cash gifts as a way of empowering them.
The wife of the State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu presented the gifts to the beneficiaries during this year's International Widows' Day celebration held at the Babafunke Ajasin Auditorium in Akure.
The event which was well attended by important dignitaries across the state had in attendance the Acting Chief Judge of the State, Justice Temitayo Osoba, Chairperson International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA ) in the state, Barr Olubumi Arajuwa, wife of the Ondo State Speaker, Permanent Secretaries, political leaders, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) among others.
While speaking on this year's theme, "Never Alone", Her Excellency who noted that widows are been maltreated by those who should care for them encouraged widows to be strong and cheerful because they are never alone.
"My dear women of our great sunshine state, I am highly delighted to be in your midst on this occasion of the 2017 World Widows Day. It gladdens my heart that the Lord made it possible for us to bring into focus, issues concerning a group of women that hitherto had been neglected. These group of women are the widows in our various homes, families, communities and societies.
"This is why the theme for this year's celebration, "Never Alone" is very apt. The theme's message must be seen as the commencement of a crusade or revolution. Never again are we going to allow our mothers, sisters, aunties and nieces be treated like slaves. Never again are we going to allow these inhuman practices to continue. It is also used to sensitize the local and global communities on the misery faced by widows and the need to take appropriate steps to redress them".
While assuring the widows of the support of the present administration in the state, Arabirin Akeredolu revealed that the state government has signed into law bill to prohibit harmful traditional practices affecting the health and welfare of women and children and for other matters incidental thereto and connected therewith.
She added that workshops had also been held to sensitize the general public on the law while handbills were also distributed throughout the state.
The First Lady who lamented the sufferings and pains some wives of the fallen heroes were subjected to by their late husband's families in the state stressed the need for men to be educated on the importance of writing their wills bearing their wives and children names.
"A forum will be organised for men to educate them better on the need to write their wills with their wives and children names to avoid problems when they are no more".
While appreciating Her Excellency for her kind gestures and concerns for the widows, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Funmi Osundolure, explained that it is spiritually good to take care of the widows but in most cases, the reverse is the case.
"Widows need our support and not empathy, we need to stop every form of discrimination and maltreatment against them and ensure that never again will the widows be alone."
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Lucia Akinyemi, who spoke with The Hopedescribed Arabirin Akeredolu as a woman with bowel of mercy and prayed that the Lord will continue to bless and strengthen her.