Reps propose 6-month leave period for widows, widowers

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 20, 20242 min

The House of Representatives wants the implementation of a six-month leave for widows and widowers to enable significant time for mourning.

The House of Representatives has okayed a bill for an Act to allow widows and widowers go on leave for six (6) months.

The piece of legislation, which has scaled through second reading, is entitled “Widowhood Leave Bill, 2023”, and sponsored by Rep. Musa Abdullahi (APC, Niger).

The proposed legislation gives widows and widowers a leave of 6 months to enable the time and space to grieve, seek counselling, and adjust to their current realities.

While presenting the Bill, the Niger lawmaker said the process will greatly contribute to their emotional healing and overall resilience.

Rep. Abdullahi who doubles as the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Finance, explained that the proposed leave allows widows to focus on caring for their children and other family members who may be dependent on them during the challenging time, as well as fulfilling some religious and cultural obligations.

Pushing his argument further, Abdullahi pointed out that “a Muslim widow is expected to perform iddah (the waiting period) for four months and 10 days, during which she would not be expected to attend any function outside her home or be required to interface with any man who is not her immediate relative.”

He further stressed that “widows and widowers in Nigeria face numerous challenges following the loss of their spouses. The affected group of persons are often left to single-handedly care for their children and attend to pressing family matters.

“This crucial piece of legislation aims to address the pressing issue of supporting individuals who have lost their spouses, helping them navigate the challenging period of widowhood.”

Elizabeth Atime

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