*As women protest against killing of soldiers by Boko Haram in North, Cultists in South
*Pledges support for Buhari’s fight against Boko Haram, militants, cultists cross-country
By Tunji Wahab
A socio-political pressure group and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Virtuous Widows Association, has expressed its appreciation to the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, for the donation of a vehicle to the association to ease their activities.
Al-Mustapha recently donated a brand new Toyota bus to the association in Abuja.
The association, under the leadership of Mrs Ifeyinwa Benice Egbosiuba, expressed profound gratitude to the former CSO at a peaceful protest rally held simultaneously in Lagos and Maiduguri, Borno states capital, recently.
The protest rally, according to Egbosiuba, was to express their sadness over the continuous killings of Nigerian soldiers by the Boko Haram insurgents and thereby rendering thousands of women and children as widows and orphans, respectively.
The association at the Lagos rally, which took off from Ajah and spread to other parts of the state, expressed support for President Muhammadu Buhari on the fight against insurgency in the North-East and other parts of the country.
Its President, Mrs Ifeyinwa Benice Egbosiuba said, “Members of the Virtuous Widows Association are not happy with the present situation in the country where our husbands are being slaughtered like rams by the heartless insurgents,” adding that the number of widows in the country is increasing daily, as a result of the killings by the agents of terrorism.
She regretted that the society was so cruel to the widows so much that they were deprived, maltreated, abandoned and neglected to take care of their children without any form of support or assistance from anywhere.
The group, according to her, was founded in 2014 mainly to fight the cause of widows across the country adding also that the Virtuous Widows Association has branches in 16 states across the country with members spread to local governments in those states.
“We are appealing to President Buhari to help us out. We support his fight against terrorism and we seek peace in the North-East and that is why we are holding this rally. Many of our members from the North-East, particularly, in Maiduguri, lost their bread winners to the gruesome attacks by the Boko Haram. And there is nobody to fend for them. The children are fatherless. And there is nobody to cater for their needs.”
Egbosiuba also lamented that the sad experiences of the widows at the Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDPs ) could best be imagined, noting that those experiences were nothing to write home about.
“There were cases of assault and rape in the camp and this is very sad, disheartening and pathetic,” she complained.
Secretary of the group, Mrs Agerigo, lamented that gallant Nigerian soldiers like Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Abu-Ali and several others had lost their lives in the war against Boko Haram insurgents, urging that their deaths should not be in vain.
“As widows, we know what it takes to lose a breadwinner in the family and that is why we are appealing to the Federal Government to make sure there is peace in the country, particularly in Maiduguri and some parts of the North-East,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Egbosiuba had advised the Federal Government to support the widows as most of them depended on their late breadwinners for their livelihood. She also expressed her appreciation to some notable individuals and philanthropists who had been supporting the association by providing food and other valuables to members.
Some of them, according to her, are Major Hamsat Al-Mustapha, who recently donated a brand new Toyota bus to the group, Mr. Paul Adefarasin, Mrs. Ebi Ogiri and Mrs. Maureen Naomi among others.
While playing Oliver Twist by asking for more, the association leader also urged other Nigerians, corporate bodies, religious organisations and social associations to emulate the mentioned individuals by coming to the rescue of the widows, who she said were vulnerable in the society.