In view of their rather weak resources to fight or advocate for justice and given that many societies strip widows of dignity, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international treaty was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Unfortunately, it has not focused much on widow abuse. CEDAW is an international bill of rights for women instituted on 3 September 1981 and has been ratified by 189 states. Nigeria signed the bill on April 23, 1984.
Nigeria’s signatory to the bill was hailed as a one of the surest outlets to achieve an organized society where the rights and privileges of widows would be protected against barbarism particularly in the Nigeria customary laws which made provisions for levirate inheritance, which is the “take over” of the widow by any of her deceased husband’s male sibling or relative. Under this law, instead of providing care, comfort and compassion, some families exploit, debase and abuse widows, rob them of priced possessions and drive them to the streets.
Sadly, institutions may have joined in the fray of humiliating and dehumanizing widows A case in point is a short video which has gone viral on the social media where a woman narrates her ordeal in the hands of Access Bank.
In the video, the woman stated that In 2012, the husband left her with a property which is on montage with Access Bank, located at Asa–Afariogun St, Ajao Estate, Lagos, Nigeria near airport road.
According to her, the husband died and left her with three kids including a N25 million loan guaranteed by the house in Ajao Estate. In the narrative, she stated that she has serviced this loan with rent and profits from other business to the tune of N23.5 million leaving a balance of about N1.5 million.
To her surprise, Access Bank has sold the property. She is deeply worried about this development and pleads with Nigerians to come to her rescue.