As parts of efforts to cushion the harsh effects of the lockdown on citizens of the state, the Anambra State Chapter of the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), over the weekend distributed palliatives to women in rural parts of the state.
The exercise which took the State FIDA team led by the Chairperson, Professor Ogugua Ikpeze to Umueri Community in Anambra East LGA and Ogidi in Idemili North LGA, also witnessed awareness talks on the Coronavirus.
From Umuopu village, Umueri to Ajilija village, Ogidi, the story was the same as over 200 rural women got the palliatives which included cash, 10 kg bags of rice, tin tomatoes and tubers of yam.
The exercise had earlier commenced at the State Headquarters of the FIDA in Awka, with the distribution of cash, tubers of yam, groundnut oil and tin tomatoes to retirees and the very indigent members of the Association.
It was gathered that the money for the palliative was raised by members of the State Executive with support from some well-to-do members of the Association, with a view to giving the beneficiaries succour in the face of the hardship which the lockdown had brought.
Speaking during the exercise, the State FIDA Chairperson, Prof Ikpeze observed that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about serious problems for the family with the breadwinners now unable to provide for their families.
According to her, this development has its attendant implications for the family which may include gender-based violence due to frustration, hence the need for FIDA to intervene.
“It has been a long history of gender-based violence and the gender being violated more is the feminine gender especially among the Igbos. The COVID 19 pandemic had worsened the situation because the extent of violence perpetrated during the lockdown has never been witnessed before. Some have abandoned their family. Some men out of frustration engage in some very unwholesome dispositions towards the women. FIDA is concerned about all these issues more importantly because we believe in equality, fairness and wellbeing of every member of the family,” Prof Ikpeze said.
She explained that the donation which is one of the ways FIDA is living out its commitment towards the advancement of the cause of humanity was made possible through support from its partners who include well-meaning citizens and members of the association.
According to the Anambra FIDA Chairperson, the turbulent times should be a period to foster friendship between husbands, wives and their children and not to perpetrate violence.
In her words, “the period should be seen as an opportunity to cement cordial relationship among members of the family, a time for repentance and building a relationship with God. It is in keeping with the commandments on love, that the Female Lawyers in Anambra state deemed it wise to extend alms to the downtrodden.”
On the donation to FIDA members, Professor Ikpeze explained that they were for members of the association who have retired and no longer earning and indigent young lawyers in private practice from 2014 downward.
In her remarks, the immediate past State Chairperson of the Association, Mrs Chineze Obianyo, said the idea behind the gesture was solely to support the indigent women survive the negative effects of the pandemic.
“The directives on the pandemic makes it imperative for families to stay on their own and it calls to one’s the thinking about people who cannot survive on their own. Can we rely on the government to take care of all these people, the answer is no. So, FIDA decided to bring succour to the rural women. We want to reach the women because we know that whatever we give them must get to their families and this communal way of living is very key at this time if families must survive the hardship that this virus has brought,” she maintained.
Some of the retirees who received the palliatives, Clementina Oliobi-Ezennia and Diamond Umeadi expressed appreciation to the leadership of the association for remembering them, describing such gesture as rare among similar associations.
In their separate remarks, some of the beneficiaries from Umueri, Grace Ogugua and Victoria Esedo noted that professor Ikpeze was known for love and affection for the downtrodden in the community, praying God to reward her immensely.