40 widows whose bread winners (military personnel) were felled in Theatres of operation, fighting against insurgency and banditry have graduated from the DEPOWA Skills Acquisition Centre (DSAC) after undergoing six months training in various fields.
This is just as the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen has said that women were worst affected by the Covid 19 lockdown imposed on the country when the pandemic was ravaging the world noting, “We had three times worse, the number of occurrences of gender based violence against women and children particularly the girl child”.
The Minister commended DEPOWA for lifting the widows with sources of livelihood, saying, “Seeing these widows with smiles on their faces after the emotional stress they have gone through gives me joy. He who put smiles on the faces of widows, put smiles on the face of God because when widows cry to God and prays for you, he answers their prayers”
While urging the graduating widows to take the knowledge gained seriously and put them to good use, Dame Tallen stated that the federal ministry of women affairs will continue to partner with DEPOWA to move the welfare of women in the barracks forward
President of the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association, Barr. Mrs. Vickie Anwuli Irabor on her part lamented the continued loss of lives by the military and police personnel due to security challenges which has left behind, widows and orphans.
She disclosed that, “DEPOWA together with her member associations have embarked on skills acquisition for these widows and vulnerable youths to help them combat the enormous social and emotional stress associated with being wives of men who are trained to lay down their lives for the country”.
“As part of our support for the 40 widows and vulnerable, we have provided Starter Packs for various trades, including Ovens, Cylinders, Cake Mixers, Coolers, Baking Pans for Catering, Weaving Machines, Sewing Machines for fashion designing, Hair Dryer Machines, Generators among others. These items provided for the grandaunts will be accompanied with cash for payment of one year rent for shops”.
The widows and vulnerable were trained in different vocations including fashion designing, catering, hair dressing, make-up and gele-tying, production and computer studies among others.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor who congratulated the widows for graduating with new skills, urged them to put to good use the special skills acquired and pledged the “Defence headquarters will continue to support DEPOWA because it’s a worthy cause providing such training to widows of our fallen heroes”.
Mrs. Hannah Abdul who represented the DG of SMEDAN in a lecture told the graduant’s, “Today you have been trained. You have been given started packs. You have no reason to fail. There are over a thousand widows out there in society that are looking for such opportunity. So make use of this your opportunity. Go back home capitalize on the skill you have learnt to earn a living for your family and take care of your children”.
Present at the graduation ceremony were Presidents of NAOWA, Hajia Salamatu Faruk Yahaya, NOWA, Hajia Nana Aisha Gambo, NAFOWA, Mrs. Olubunmi Amao, POWA, Hajia Hajara Usman Baba and former DEPOWA Presidents, Mrs. Alero Azazi, Mrs. Aminat Ibrahim and Dr. Mrs. Omobolanle Olonisakin
Also present at the graduation were the Chief of Civil Military Cooperation at Defence headquarters, Rear Admiral Federal Ogu, Major General Bakare, Major General Ochigbano and Rear Admiral Luka from Naval headquarters.