As the world celebrated the International Widows Day on Saturday, June 23, 2018, Nigerian celebrities that include MI Abaga, Harrysong, Woli Arole and Charles Okocha joined founder of Felix King foundation, Dr. Felix King to demand Zero Maltreatment Day for widows across the world.
With the 2018 global theme being “Developing resources and policies to empower widows,” Dr. King and the entertainers urged the United Nation to declare June 23 Zero Maltreatment Day.
Felix King Foundation noted that many elderly widows face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, based on their gender, age, rural location or disability.
"Widows are often evicted from their homes and physically abused – some even killed – even by members of their own family. In many countries, a woman’s social status is inextricably linked to her husband’s, so that when her husband dies, a woman no longer has a place in society. To regain social status, widows are expected to marry one of their husband’s male relatives, sometimes unwillingly. For many, the loss of a husband is only the first trauma in a long-term ordeal,” Dr King said.
The movement to end widows maltreatment
At a gathering inside the Moremi Hall in University of Lagos, Yaba Lagos State, the foundation moved to seek the UN to declare June 23rd Zero Maltreatment Day hence the Widows Rights Movement flag off. The movement, according to Dr. King, held a rally across the world in Nigeria, Ghana, The US, Canada and the UK simultaneously.
According to Dr King, “the widows’ rights movement is a Felix King Foundation’s organised international movement campaigning for the abolishment of widows maltreatment, while advocating for United Nations (UN) declaration of June 23rd, as a zero maltreatment day for widows in countries with traditional societies where women suffer human rights violations with membership spread across the world”.
Speaking on how widows can be liberated from the intersecting discrimination, Dr. King further said the road to total freedom and economic empowerment of widows starts with the declaration of June 23rd as zero maltreatment against widows and it is one day at a time.
“The ultimate goal of the day is to develop resources and policy to empower widows and allow them to have access to education, work, healthcare and lives free of violence and abuse, while enables them to create a life for themselves and their children following the death of their husband and ending a cycle of poverty and abuse,” he said.
Celebs share views on widows’ maltreatment
The celebrities, who joined Dr. King to support the movement of the widows, also took out time to air their views on maltreatment of widows across the world.
Beyond mere celebration, Harrysong said widow’s maltreatment in Nigeria and Africa at large should be outlawed.
“I vehemently speak against this obnoxious practice in our society and the UN should take a step forward by declaring June 23rd Zero Maltreatment Day.
“The practice is widespread in developing countries and the appropriate authorities should move to end it because maltreating our women, mother, daughters, and sisters amounts to drawing ourselves backward,” Harrysong said.
For Charles Okocha aka Igwe Tupac, the ‘unnecessary’ practice should be condemned.
According to him “the whole world abhors this practice and he should be spoken against in our country so that we can move forward and that is the only way to prosperity.”
Dr. King also frowned at continuous victimization of widows said once widowed, women in many countries often confront a denial of inheritance and land rights, degrading and life-threatening mourning and burial rites and other forms of widow abuse.