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Widow Cries Out Over Attempt By Brother-In-Law To Kick Her Out Of Late Husband’s Home

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By Chuks Eke

Mrs. Chinenye Okonkwo, wife of the late Livinus Okonkwo, a  37-year-old widow and mother of five children whose husband died in 2017,

has called on relevant authorities to come to her aide, following an attempt by her brother-in-law, Boniface Okonkwo to evict her from her late husband’s matrimonial home at Umuodilio66gu family of Umunakwa Ifite village, Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

She lamented that apart from evicting her, Boniface also used almost all the cement blocks molded by her late husband, when he was still alive to build a house, to build his own house, and also encroached into her husband’s portion of their family land where he erected his own house.

Speaking to newsmen at their family compound at Oraifite on Friday, Chinenye disclosed that efforts by the entire Umuodiliogu family to stop Boniface from evicting her from her late husband’s home proved abortive as he had succeeded in forcing her out of the matrimonial home, leading to her currency living in a rented apartment with her children somewhere else for some years now.

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She further lamented that despite the intervention of other community leaders,  the International Federation of Female Lawyers, FIDA and other Women cooperatives established by Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, SEOF, the brother-in-law refused to release her husband’s landed properties to her, thereby forcing her and her children to seek refuge outside the Okonkwo compound.

She said, “My husband died in 2017 at the age of 45. Since then, his brother, Boniface Okonkwo, popularly known as ‘Overheat’, encroached into my late husband’s land. He carried the entire blocks my husband had molded and used them for his own house.

“When I confronted him about my husband’s blocks, he said he has used them. After several attempts of resisting his nefarious acts on me, he forcefully ejected me from my husband’s house with the use of thugs.

“He asked me to leave and that I should go and look for someone else to remarry me since I am still young. Right now, I have become homeless and also struggling to pay both house rent and children’s school fees.”

She, however, pleaded with the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to intervene in the matter so that she and her children would not remain homeless.

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The Chairman of Umuodilogu kindred, Chief Francis Okafor, also condemned the actions of the widow’s brother-in-law, saying that the community has waded into the matter, and the brother-in-law, Boniface Okonkwo is currently in police custody in connection with a petition written against him by another member of the family simply identified as Ogilisi Igbo.

Commenting on the development, the Coordinator of Sir Emeka Of for Foundation, SEOF,, Sir Anthony Obi told newsmen that the foundation had included Chinenye among those that would benefit from the third phase of the foundation’s Touch Alive Housing Project which involved building a bungalow, furnishing it and handing it over to her as they did to over 30 other beneficiaries in Phase One and Phase Two projects over the years.

Mrs. Ogechi Izuka, leader of the widows under SEOF, said she led Chinenye to FIFA to lay her complaint, adding that FIDA is currently considering going to court against Boniface.

When contacted, the Anambra State Police Command’s spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed Boniface Okonkwo was in police custody over a petition written against him by another person.

“Yes, he was arrested over a petition brought to us against him. We are about to conclude an investigation before he will be arraigned, in court”, Ikenga added.

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West African Traditional, Faith Leaders, Others Gather In Abuja To Combat SGBV

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First class and respected traditional rulers in attendance

Traditional and faith leaders from across West Africa, government officials, and international organisation representatives have gathered in Abuja for the first Annual High-Level GBV Prevention Summit.

Many forms of gender-based violence in Africa are justified by culture and tradition. Violence against women and girls is perpetuated by harmful gender norms and practices that stem from traditional customs and religious misconceptions.

Traditional and religious leaders’ authority and platforms are thought to be useful in addressing the root causes of GBV, such as patriarchy and gender stereotypes, by mobilising communities to effect change. Recognising this, UN Women, with support from the Ford Foundation, organised a GBV prevention summit to assess the accomplishments of leaders in their respective jurisdictions and provide a forum for sharing critical and inspirational insights.

Ms. Beatrice Eyong, UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Ford Foundation for their unwavering support for the Traditional and Cultural Leaders for Ending GBV by Advancing Advocacy, Policy, and Social Norms Change in Nigeria and West Africa (LEAP) programme.

She emphasised that this initiative recognises the critical role of traditional and religious leaders in challenging harmful social norms that perpetuate GBV, particularly violence against women and girls.

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She emphasised the importance of challenging societal norms that condone violence, pointing to Africa’s rich cultural heritage while acknowledging the need to confront practices that violate human rights and dignity. Ms. Eyong also emphasised the pervasive nature of GBV, stating that “GBV is not just against our women and girls; it is also against our economic growth, stability, and emergence to become a continent that has everything it needs to be great and prosperous.”

His eminence, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, also spoke at the event and urged traditional and religious rulers to work together to end all harmful practices against women and girls, saying, “We are 100% behind you in this fight.

His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, reiterated his commitment, urging traditional rulers to ensure that the summit is outcomes are implemented in their respective communities.

Mr. Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, who was also present at the summit, emphasised the importance of continuing to invest in GBV prevention in order to create a more equitable society for Nigerian women and girls. Mr. Walker was also recognised as a He4She for his efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria and West Africa.

Despite some progress, disparities persist, with West Africa experiencing high rates of child marriage and female genital mutilation. To put an end to violence against women and girls, radical shifts in mindset are required, which can be accomplished through dialogue and knowledge sharing among distinguished leaders from Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana.

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The summit is an important milestone in the ongoing fight against GBV in Nigeria and throughout West Africa. It builds on the momentum of previous initiatives such as the Spotlight Initiative and the LEAP project, focusing on improving traditional leaders’ skills and partnerships to prevent and shift harmful social norms and practices.

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Emir Of Kano Prays For Peace, Stability In Nigeria, West Africa

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Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano, has prayed for peace and stability in Nigeria and throughout the West African region.

The Emir offered the prayer when Senator Barau Jibrin, the Deputy President of the Senate and Acting Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, led the delegation from the regional legislative arm to his Palace as a courtesy.

The Emir thanked the parliamentarians for their visit and prayed for a successful extraordinary session of the parliament.

The Emir, while thanking the Senate’s Deputy President for arranging for the session to be held in Kano, urged parliamentarians to explore business opportunities in the state.

Senator Jibrin stated during the visit that Kano was chosen for the second extraordinary session to bring the ECOWAS Parliament closer to the people.

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He stated: “This will bring the ECOWAS Parliament closer to the people on the ground. It will also provide a platform for interactions and business relationships. Our founding fathers envisioned ECOWAS as a way to bring us together.

“The emir is the guardian of our traditions and religion. We are here to seek his blessings and express our admiration for the emirate and the emir. “Your Royal Highness, we also ask for your prayers for the event’s success,” he said.

The extraordinary session has been called to consider and approve the rule of procedure and strategic plan for the sixth legislature, as well as the 2024 work programme.

Parliamentarians from 12 countries, including Nigeria, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and the Republic of Togo, are attending the parliament’s second extraordinary session.

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Innovation Interventions To Be Adopted At NESREA, Says Barikor

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Dr. Innocent Bariate Barikor, the Director General of NESREA, has stated that he will implement innovative interventions to address the country’s environmental problems.

Dr. Barikor made the promise on Monday while speaking to the agency’s management and staff on his first day in office in Abuja.

He stated, “We will deepen the mandate of this Agency, explore the full potentials of the NESREA Establishment Act 2007 (as amended), and ensure we provide more innovative approaches, so that we use the opportunity given to us to do the right thing, not just for ourselves, but for the nation and posterity.”

“We will increase our capacity for public orientation, increase revenue generation for the government, and collaborate with our external partners to achieve the Agency’s mandate,” he stated.

Barikor thanked the President and Commander – in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) for the confidence reposed in him, and assured that under his administration, the Agency, will exceed expectations of Nigerians in terms of safeguarding the environment.

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The NESREA boss also urged the Agency’s management and staff to collaborate with him in realising the vision of a clean and healthy environment for all Nigerians, which is consistent with President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

While handing over to Dr. Barikor, the Director, Inspection and Enforcement, Mr. Abdusalam Isa pledged the support of the Management and Staff for the new Director General.

Dr. Innocent Bariate Barikor was appointed the 4th Director General of NESREA by the President. Barikor thanked the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR), for his trust in him and promised that under his administration, the Agency would exceed Nigerians’ expectations in terms of environmental protection.

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