By Lucy Ackanyon
The Och’Idoma His Majesty Agaba-Idu, John Elaigwu has condemned harmful cultural practices against widows, and declared full support for a proposed bill to protect widows and punish offenders.
The royal father of the Idoma nation said this Monday when he received the Wife of Benue State Governor, Dr Eunice Ortom, who was on an advocacy visit to seek support of the Idoma Traditional Council on two proposed bills.
He described the cultural practices as barbaric and demonic, stressing that the Idoma traditional Council was poised to work with the first lady to ensure that the bill scales through at the Benue State House of Assembly
Earlier, Mrs Ortom told the council that she was inspired to propose the widowhood bill by the wide out cry by widows in the state against maltreatment from families of their husbands, stressing that the existence of a law was the best way of eliminating the unjust practices.
Mrs Ortom also sought the support of the council to proposed amendment of the law on traditional leadership to make room for women in the state to be part of the institution.
While commending the important roles traditional leaders have played in the elevation of women in other spheres of development, including education and politics, she appealed to them to do same for women involvement in traditional leadership.
In her contributions, Commissioner of Women Affairs, Mrs Tabitha Igirgi affirmed that widows in the state are subjected to many demeaning treatment, including denial of inheritance rights.
Narrating her ordeal, a widow, Mrs Becky Idoko testified that her husband’s family threw her with her children out of the house and seized their property, when her husband died.
Other contributors, including representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), HeforShe Network, Idoma and Tiv social-cultural groups, FIDA, and National Council of Women’s Societies in Nigeria all described the two bills as forward and progressive.