Following the terror attacks perpetrated in the North-eastern part of the country recently, the Catholic Church of Nigeria has commenced a programme of hope for the over 2,000 women widowed largely by the Boko Haram insurgencies in its parishes in Borno, Yobe States and part of Adamawa State.
THISDAY reports that this disclosure was made by the Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese of the Church, Most Rev. Oliver Dashe Doeme, while speaking with journalists at a workshop on financial management organised for the first batch of the widows who were selected to benefit from the rehabilitation programme.
According to the bishop, the initiation was in keeping with Christ’s teaching that the less advantaged members of the society should be supported.
Most Rev. Doeme stated that the widows needed to be empowered, having been made to go through a lot of suffering after their husbands’ death.
“The widows suffer a lot once the husbands are gone, they become neglected, most of the family members do not come close to them, let alone to help them.
* Most Rev. Doeme
“We have an obligation to take care of the poor and needy. So we call the widows first for the workshop and then to give them a little assistance that will help them to take care of themselves. We want them to be able to go back to establish small businesses,” the cleric said.
He added: “Our major target is to help them take care of their children, for many of them are left with six, seven, ten children with no work and they need assistance from somewhere to raise these children.
“Right from the word go, the church has always been taking care of orphans, widows and other less privileged in the society as that was the reason for our Lord’s coming, Jesus Christ was doing good and was particularly taking care of the poor.
“In my capacity as a leader of the church and a representative of Jesus Christ, the Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese which covers Borno, Yobe and parts of Adamawa State, I have to take up the challenge of taking care of the widows in our parishes in the area.”
* A Catholic church in Nigeria
He said the church standing in the place of Christ the widows who have no place to run to have to run to it and it has no choice but to assist them.
Most Rev. Doeme informed that the first batch of those to be assisted among the widows are in Borno/Yobe axis and that it would be the turn of Adamawa axis by weekend.
He also disclosed that apart from given financial assistance, that the widows would be availed the opportunity to acquire skills, which would lift them from their present situation upward.
The United Nations recently stated in a report that no fewer than 4,000 people have lost their lives due to terror attacks carried out by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country since 2009.
The report also revealed that thousands of people have been rendered homeless and thousands of women have become widows especially in northeastern Nigeria.
It could be recalled that no fewer than 50 people were reported dead in a bomb blast that happened in a Monday Market in Maiduguri on Monday, 1 July, 2014.
According to the report, the bomb exploded at about 8.20am within the market premises, which is usually a crowded commercial centre.