The Director, Veterans Affairs Department at Defence headquarters, Major General LF Abdullahi on Monday disclosed that military authorities have proposed the establishment of vocational and entrepreneurial training Centers dedicated to the training of widows on Nigerian Military personnel who are killed in the line of duty with a view to improving the fortunes of military widows and their children.
Major General Abdullahi also disclosed that the authorities have proposed the quarterly training of a particular batch of these widows from the year 2021 to help these widows stand on their own and begin self sustaining ventures.
Though he said the proposals were pending approvals, Abdullahi said a further proposal for some level of level of financial support to be paid to military widows from next year is also before government noting that they are all geared towards ameliorating the hardship of the widows and their children.
Major General Abdullahi spoke at the maiden “Military Widows Association of Nigeria (MIWA) Week 2020” holding from 12th to 13th October at the Nigerian Army Resource Center, Abuja.
In his remarks, Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), who was represented by his Special Assistant, Major General Ahmed Tijani Jubril (rtd) commended the military widows who in spite of the agony of losing their husbands and facing difficult challenges, found time to come together to work towards upliftment of the less privileged among them.
The minister assured the military widows that he will continue to identify with their activities and promised to support MIWA in the quest to build a befitting secretariat in Abuja.
The Defence minister however urged the widows to go further in their mobilization to not only officer’s widows, but also widows of soldiers so that, “you carry them along in anything you are doing”.
The Director General, Nigerian Army Resource Center, Major General Garba Ayodeji Wahab (rtd) delivered a paper on ‘Life Outside the Barracks and Healing Memories’ where he advised and postulated various ideas and opportunities of what the widows can do to survive the new status they have found themselves
President of MIWA, Mrs. Veronica Aloko in her address titled, ‘The Destiny of a Grieving Woman’ said, “For several days and months, and years after the cold hands of death severed her other half, a widow remains in strict morning, remembering the friendly and cheerful moments she had shared with her late spouse, moments devoid of regrets and sadness”.
“Of course, days of family monthly allowance, of family picnics and outdoor activities, of fatherly protection and love, are definitely over. Deprivation with its denial of middle income provision, happiness and family respect take over the mantle of fatherhood. The prize is not only ideological for the widow and her children, it is family devaluation based on how the widow and her children forge ahead in the cold, unfriendly, fast moving highways of human life.
She said the ministry of Defence approved the establishment of the widows association in December 2016, not as a pressure group going to the military authorities but to functions to relief its members from the anguish of the supreme sacrifices made by their spouses, thus making it bearable for their kin they left behind.
“Today, the dream of the military widows for a better, less agonizing future will be realized. The building of a Military Widows Association (MIWA) national secretariat, that is an administrative block in the federal capital, wherein all matters that concern the wives of deceased military personnel would be handled will ensure that realization”, she said.
About N12million was realized from donors to the secretariat building project, with Alhaji Aliko Dangote contributing the sum of N5million, Mrs. Alero Azazi, wife of former CDS, General Owoye Azazi donating N1million and Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu, Director of Operations, Musamad Nigeria limited donated two buses and undertaking to sponsor 1,000 military widows for vocational and entrepreneurial training.
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