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‘We’ve been abandoned after our husbands died fighting Boko Haram’ – Widows

Valentine Chinyem



Wives of soldiers fighting insurgency in the North-East have narrated their ordeals to the visiting wives of Service Chiefs, that several months after their husbands died in battle against Boko Haram, nothing has been done to address their problems.

Mr. Fatima Al-Hussein, the Coordinator of an NGO, New Hope for Widows, said several weeks after the visit by the wives of the service chiefs, the conditions of the widows remained the same. “I spoke to a good number of the widows, and they say nothing has changed since then.” she said.

However, Mrs. Omobolanle Olonisakin, wife of the Chief of Defence Staff, promised the widows that she will not allow her husband rest until something is done to address their plight.

In a previous visit by the wives of the service Chiefs to the hospital, where injured soldiers were being treated, saw them donating items and praying for their quick recovery, before proceeding to the 7th Battalion of the Nigeria Army to meet with the widows.

They urged the widows to speak freely about their plights, while commiserating with them.
One of the widows, Mrs. Fatima Abdullahi, said she is not aware if her husband was killed or not, saying, “I am yet to see his corpse. He was declared missing since 2014 and we have not heard anything about him since then. But two months after he was declared missing, the military authority stopped his salary and drove us away from the barracks.”

Mrs. Abdullahi said nothing has been paid to the family as benefits. “I’ve been a full-time housewife. I do not have a means of taking care of the children he left behind. We find it very difficult to even feed,” she said.

One of the widows, simply called Madam Serah, told the wife of the CDS that after the death of her husband, the military kept paying her his salary up to a year before it was stopped. “My problem is I have not seen the corpse of my husband. I am not begging for financial aid from the military. I am a university graduate. Give me a job to take care of our children. That is my prayer to the military authorities,” she said.

Mrs. Mary Johnson said her husband was killed in Monguno. “When I went to the military headquarters for his benefit, they told me that I must go to Monguno in Borno State and obtain some papers from the Commander. On getting to Maiduguri I was warned that I cannot go to Monguno except with military escort. I am starving, along with my children.”

However, the revelations by the widows did not go down well with some officers who were present at the meeting, who quickly dispersed the crowd, after seeing the wives of the service Chiefs out of the hall.