Bayelsa State Governor on Tuesday signed into law the Widows and widowers’ Protection Bill 2015, bringing the total number of bills signed so far in the life of the administration to 50.
Speaking at the event in Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Dickson explained that the new law was designed to offer protection to the vulnerable group in society, particularly widows and widowers against harmful cultural and traditional practices.
Applauding Mrs. Agatha Goma for the sponsorship of the bill, the Governor said henceforth, marriage to a relation of a deceased spouse against the individual’s wish and compelling a widow or widower to do any of the several acts contained in the law would be considered unlawful.
Governor Dickson, who pointed out that, women were most affected in some traditional practices, which he described as negative, noted that, the law seeks to offer some protection to them as they were one of the vulnerable groups in society.
His words: “The Widows and Widowers’ Law of our state deals with a lot of negative cultural practices, particularly affecting the womenfolk in our society. I like to appreciate the contributions of the member who sponsored this bill, our dear sister and colleagues, Hon. Agatha Goma.
“We need to protect women more particularly women who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances because we all know that sometimes our cultural practices are not friendly to widows who lost husbands and breadwinners. And this bill has stepped in to offer some protection.”
He also called on the State Assembly to take urgent steps at considering and passing the Child’s Rights Bill, before the end of the 7th legislative assembly for his executive assent.
Governor Dickson urged the Ministries of Justice and Women Affairs to enlighten the public on the provisions of the new law and lauded members of the Assembly for their hard work and dedication to legislative business.
Earlier in his remarks, Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson said, the bill was sent to the house on the 8th of July last year and passed on the 5th of May, 2015.