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EU UN seek end to widowhood harmful practices in Ebonyi

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By Ruth Oginyi

European Union(EU) and United Nations(UN) spotlight Initiative Friday called for an end to widowhood harmful practices in Ebonyi state.

Correspondent reports that some  communities in  Ebonyi state, such as Abakaliki,  windows does not have right to own the properties of their husband if the husband dies, including landed property which the widow would use for farming to feed her children.

Worried by this, EU-UN spotlight Initiative organised a Community dialogue with women and girls in Abakaliki and said such culture was very harmful against women and should be put to an end.

Speaking to Emmanuel Oloruntoba, Cross River and Ebonyi state Coordinator of the spotlight Initiative,  during a one- day Advocacy Dialogue with the Traditional leaders in Abakaliki local government area of the state to seek their support for the elimination of all forms of Violence Against Children, Women and Girls(VAWG) in the local government he said every human created by God should be allowed to live a free life.

The programme was  organized by National Orientation Agency(NOA) in the state with support from  European Union United Nations(EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative.

Emmanuel Oloruntoba explained that reason for the advocacy dialogue was to seek support of the Traditional leaders to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

He described such tradition against the widows as harmful and age-long, called for concerted efforts to end it.

He said “this is a long age tradition, it will not stop overnight, it will stop gradually. When you ask the women to list the forms of violence they are experiencing, they will list deprivation of their late  husbands properties as number one because they feel that their rights is being trampled upon; how can I marry a man and he dies and the relatives will not allow me to have anything?

“The truth is that this is violence against women and girls but we are working hand in hand with  traditional rulers, stakeholders in the community, men and girls to see how we can form a coalition to battle violence against women and girls in the community.

“Spotlight will not be the one to say we have stopped this, it is the community and the traditional leaders that will do this. Right now, all hands are on deck to stop this. One of the traditional rulers in this community  said even if he dies today, his own daughter does not have a right to own any of his property”. 

Earlier, the traditional ruler of  Amagu Community, in the  local government, HRH Fidelis Nwonumara  said it is a taboo for a woman to inherit landed property in her father’s house or late husband’s house.

Eze Nwonumara explained that it will be  difficult  for the custodians of cultures in the community  to abolish some of the cultures like  given landed property to  female child.

 He said, “Nobody is violating the right of a woman or girl child. In our tradition,  Nobody gives inheritance to a woman or girl. There is no way you will give landed property to your girl child who is married to another place, it will bring big problems to our place.

“For instance, I have twenty female children and they are married to different places, will they come from their husband places to inherit landed property here in my place?,  Amagu people said it is not done, that it is a taboo in Izzi culture. What we do is that if a woman does not have a male child, if the husband dies a family member from the husband side will take over the woman and start marrying her. The person will also take over the man’s  property and begin to take care of the family of the late brother.

“We do not maltreat female child or woman, nobody will throw away his child because she is a female, it’s just that our tradition does not accept giving landed property to the woman”.

Some of the traditional rulers in Izzi clan who participated in the event called for bye-laws in various  communities in the area

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