CVL Founder, Professor Pat Utomi has said that women deserve the gratitude of all in remaining our social glue, the crafts-persons of the values that will sustain the future and tapestry upon which their children walk to greater economic freedom. In a statement marking 2017 International Women’s Day and the launch of an expanded vision for the Widow Support Centre he founded more than 25years ago to support poor widows, Utomi said that the future of Nigeria depends significantly on how well we invest in the education, health care, entrepreneurship capacity of women who are carrying an increasing financial burden of raising their children.
Prof. Utomi who first began advocacy on oppressive widowhood rites issues in 1982 and then to work for support of widows denied their rights by mobilizing lawyers to offer pro bono services, a year later. He set up the Widow Support Centre in 1991 to provide new economic opportunities for widows. That initiative is currently undergoing reshaping and intensification of strategy in response to changing times.
Affirming that the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) which took over administration of the Widow Support Centre twelve years ago will host a celebration of women event at the CVL place in Victoria Island Lagos at Noon on March 8, the WSC and CVL founder lamented the many abuses women currently endure in Nigeria in spite of how much they contribute to the regeneration of communities including some in which they are the primary breadwinners in addition to taking care of the home. The abuses enumerated in the statement by Prof. Pat Utomi include; human trafficking, relatives plundering assets of a deceased who has left a family, increasing incidents of ‘dead beat dads’ where men abdicate the responsibility to provide for their children when separated from their spouses, battering and other physical abuse of women, and sexual harassment.
Utomi called on men from all over the world to rise in unison against the views of the member of the European Parliament who last week referred to women as smaller, weaker and less intelligent. Utomi concluded by saying that a society that does not provide opportunities for half of its population sub optimizes and is cutting its nose to spite its face. He extended best wishes of the CVL team to women everywhere and urged women to persevere in their family and nation building roles. He praised widows who have raised successful children and announced that two of such widows would share their experiences at the 8th March CVL event to mark the 111th International Women’s Day.