More than 1,000 Berom and Fulani widows whose spouses were killed during different attacks and outbreak of violence in Barkin–Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State have received empowerment grants by the Senator Elect, Plateau North and member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency Hon. Istifanus Gyang.
New Telegraph had reported that Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State have the highest number of widows in the state as result of incessant attacks and violence where hundreds of husbands lost their lives. Gyang presented N10, 000 each to the 650 widows from Berom, Fulani and Ngas amongst others at Gwol Motel, Barkin Ladi. He said the hardship and vulnerability associated with widowhood has over time compounded their plights and those of their children. The Lawmaker had earlier last year presented N10,000 each to 350 widows, including scholarship to Youths in the Constituency bringing the total number of those empowered to over 1,000 beneficiaries.
According to him, the financial assistance to the widows especially from Barkin and Riyom where majority of them are currently living in Internally Displaced Camp is a deliberate and direct empowerment intervention that is intended to boost their earning capacity through income generating in trading and farming. The Senator-Elect, who was almost moved to tears, recounted his experiences as an Orphan and said he had personal experience of what they were passing through and the effect of same on their orphan children.
He called them special set of people, who by virtue of the death of their spouses are now breadwinners of their homes and cater for the wellbeing and upbringing of the children they are left with. Gyang said addressing the vulnerability and plight of widows required appropriate legislation as has been done by the Child Rights Act. He vowed to make that part of his legislative engagement as a Federal Lawmaker.
He said the initiative is a deliberate and direct empowerment intervention intended to boost their earning capacity through income generating trading as well as farming activities. The legislature also expressed optimism that though the amount may look meager, saying same can be treated as mustard seed, that shall, with careful and diligent handling will grow into a big economic tree that will become a veritable source of income and Household cash flow. “It is necessary for me to say that one factor that has generated and led to the increasing number of widows in this part of the state is the unnecessary crisis and violent attacks. “We have to do away with that root of evil. It is time to heal and rebuild. All communities and residents in this constituency should accept to adopt peaceful means of resolving any perceived disagreements as against resorting to violence. The Lawmaker assure the people that he will continue to advocate and work for peace and shall not rest until lasting peace is attained and become daily reality. “We should therefore resolve to work together in an all inclusive stakeholder participation in the peace project to make peace happen”.
The lawmaker who will returned back to the upper chamber of the Senate appreciated the people of Barkin Ladi-Riyom for the mandate accorded him to represent them in the National Assembly amidst challenges of incessant attacks. He said he is glad that his representation has brought tangible impact to the constituency such as construction of Primary and secondary schools, award of scholarship to students, distribution of textbooks to secondary schools, construction of clinic, medical outreaches conducted, and malaria eradication campaign, provision of solar powered and manual boreholes.
Other effort to include the provision of relief materials to the internally displaced persons in his constituency, provision of town hall, provision of fertilizers and water pumps for irrigation farming to the people to boost agricultural yields, construction of 180 market shops, empowered many with income generating items, constructed rural road networks, facilitating the employment of many persons, constructive engagement of stakeholders and communities in the peace process, undertook constituency wide peace rallies and campaigns, sustained peace advocacy, effective representation and lawmaking capacity by sponsoring over 20 Bills and raising several motions. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara who was represented during the empowerment programme to the widows by Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu applauded the Lawmaker for the iniative and urged the beneficiaries to make proper use of the funds.
Also the Former Minister of Water Resources, Hon. Sarah Reng Ochekpe who spoke at the event charged the widows to prioritize the education of their children. President of Berom Women Development Association Ngo Florence Jambul commended the lawmaker for the gesture and call on other spirited individual to empower women especially the widows in the crisis areas. She disclosed that Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas have the largest number of widows in the state as a result of incessant Fulani herdsmen attacks in which many husbands have being killed. She expressed concern over the plight of widows in the present times, saying they are less than dignifying and with dire economic implications and most of them living at the internally displaced camps without assistance. “crisis, attacks and violence is always a period of grief, sorrow, psychological trauma and sometimes despair. How Government and the society in general react to it, especially in relation to widows and orphans, calls for concerns from all.
Member-Elect for Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency, Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos spoke on the important roles women are playing in Nation building and charged them not to relent by trusting in God at all time. Some of the women who could not hide their joyful tears Mrs Mary Gyang and Lami Abdullahi thanked the Legislator for considering them and identifying with their predicament while promising to put the money given them to profitable ventures.
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