From Tongnaan Bawa, Jos
Wife of the Plateau State Governor Helen Mutfwang has assured widows in the state that she would network and partner with Civil Society Organizations, International partners and other stakeholders to offer support that would improve the lives of not just the widows but women and children in the State.
The first lady made the assurance while identifying with widows on the occasion of this year’s International Widows’ Day at the Government House Rayfield in Jos, the State capital on Friday.
She called on all and sundry to work together to protect the widows from harmful cultural practices and create a conducive atmosphere for the acquisition of innovative digital technology for greater participation in National development.
The Wife of the Governor, who is a a lawyer by profession also expressed her desire to work using the existing legal framework to protect women and children and added that with the massive challenges of widowhood, the State Widowhood Vocational Training Centre would be made to function maximally for the benefit of the widows.
She equally appreciated citizens for the opportunity given to her husband, Governor Mutfwang to pilot the affairs of the State; and promised to support him to deliver good governance to the people.
She commiserated with the people and the affected families over the coordinated attacks especially in Mangu, Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs stressing that insecurity issues and other circumstances have also increased the widowhood challenges in the State.
She said “As you are already aware, International Widows Day is a United Nations day of action to highlight and combat discrimination and injustice suffered by widows worldwide. This day allows us to reevaluate our levels of commitment to the challenges of widows in our State. Some of these challenges are; negative cultural practices, widowhood disinheritance, lack of economic empowerment, health challenges, lack of life skills etc.
“The theme of this year’s International Widows Day is; “Innovation and Technology for gender equality”. As a people, we need to maximize innovation and technology to create opportunities for our people particularly the widows to participate in the economic development of our State. It is no longer news that the whole world has gone digital in virtually all aspects of life.
“Consequently, for us to be able to achieve gender parity and create opportunities to protect and empower women and also get widows out of poverty, we cannot afford to be left behind.
“We must deliberately set the stage for the acquisition of innovative digital technology for our women and expose our women to financial literacy. I have been briefed on the Government facilities available for skills acquisition in the State. Very shortly, I shall take a facility tour of these centres to see for myself areas of innovative intervention. I must also assure our people that with the massive challenges of widowhood in our state, we must quickly get the State Widowhood Vocational Training Centre to function maximally
“Networking and partnering with Civil Society Organizations and international partners will help change the story of Plateau women and children for the better. I am particularly impressed with the availability of legal frameworks for the protection of women and children in the State, for instance, the Child Rights Law, 2005, Gender and Equal Opportunities Law, 2015, and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, 2022. I shall work very closely with the necessary agents of Government and Civil Society organisations to ensure the full implementation of these existing laws.”
The wife of the Governor added, “Under my watch, widows and widowhood issues will receive paramount attention. Also, issues of sexual and gender-based violence will not be heard amongst us. We shall ensure that we seek and pursue the protection of women and children in our State. As a part of this year’s celebration, I plan to interact with widows in the State, some of whom are at the IDP camps at the moment. I shall also participate in the programmes as lined up by the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
“May I also use this opportunity to thank all widows in Plateau State for their patience, resilience, passion, commitment and dedication to the protection of their children? God willing and with the renewed commitment of the Government and my passion to mobilize all critical stakeholders, I believe that the challenges of widows in Plateau State will soon be a thing of the past. Happy International Widows Day.”
Responding on behalf of the widows, Sarah Yusuf commended the wife of the Governor for identifying with them and assured that they would also support her to succeed in her role as the mother of the State.