Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and candidate of the Young Progressives Party in the 2019 Presidential election, Kingsley Moghalu has advocated for a Widows Empowerment Fund to help curtail the various challenges being faced by widows across the nation.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Moghalu who noted that he spoke at Widows Summit of the Almanah Hope Foundation, said widows in Nigeria have a hard time.
“They are first hit by financial and economic hardship. Next, husband probably left no will and his relatives will take over his property (including land she can farm). Then come loneliness and depression. We have no social security in Nigeria.
“If she is “fortunate” her kids may be grown and earning and can support her, but if they are young they may have to drop out of school, restoring a cycle of inter-generational poverty. The economic impact of widowhood is not just financial. Poverty takes many forms including lack If she is “fortunate” her kids may be grown and earning and can support her, but if they are young they may have to drop out of school, restoring a cycle of inter-generational poverty.
He averred that the economic impact of widowhood is not just financial. “Poverty takes many forms including lack of access to opportunities the widow may have had with her late husband’s support and protection. Then she faces social stigma, discrimination and possible sexual abuse. In patriarchal societies like ours women are often wrongly seen as second class, widows as third class”.
According to him, the economic impact of widowhood is driven by cultural factors, “and is often more marked in rural women. How can we support widows in our society in Nigeria? Educating women and girls in rural areas is a priority. So is skills training especially for women w/out formal education.
“This should be followed by structured financial support through Microfinance banks to help widows set up new trades and businesses. Often, these will be micro,small and medium enterprises they can start with even less than 100K. All state govts in Nigeria should set up a Widows Empowerment Fund in partnership with MFBs and lend at very minimal interest rates.
“Women are better borrowers than men. Empirical fact. Foundations like our Isaac Moghalu Foundation do our bit (eg. we support the Chinedu Widows Association in my hometown of Nnewi) but these women need more support from the govt. Let it be one govt social policy approach that recognizes our unique situation as an African country with no social security.
“Finally, advice to husbands: write a will, or out your wife’s name as Co-owner of your possessions,” he said.