At least 17,000 widows from communities around Ile-Ife in Osun State will benefit from the 2.5 million Naira empowerment programme of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
The communities that benefited from the empowerment programme were Modakeke, Ife, Ipetumodu and others.
Addressing the widows in his palace at Enuwa Square Ile-Ife, the Ooni said those empowered would be made to start off a trade that would ensure their upkeep and that of their children.
He stressed that the empowerment initiative would not pre-empt the usual tips he gives to the widows from time to time.
“The thought of empowering the widows struck me when I ascended the throne.
“Some widows came to me and presented some gifts. It touched me. In spite of their state, they could still think of honouring me.
“When I informed my chiefs and some elders, they screamed and said to me that the widows were much but I made them understand that God is always in control,” the Ooni explained.
He emphasised that apart from the empowerment, he would also on a monthly basis distribute 50 to 100 bags of rice and cows to the widows, as part of his plans to banish hunger.
Empowerment Programme Plan
Moremi, Osara and Yemowo microfinance banks were among the five microfinance banks that partnered with the monarch on the programme.
Also, the Managing Director of Oloofin Microfinance Bank, Mr Toyin Folahami, advised the widows not to see the opportunity as a national cake, but as a way of getting empowered.
He spoke to reporters on the side-lines of the launching event for the empowerment programme in the palace.
Mr Folahami said, that the loan bequeathed to the widows would attract a nine-per cent interest rate.
He also stressed that the Ooni had no plans to give money to the widows, but that they would be empowered by procuring equipment for them through the central bank of Nigeria’s interventionist programme.
“There are five cooperative societies, which will form a union under which the widows would be grouped along the line of their occupation or clusters.
“We are doing the programme in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria particularly, under one of its interventionist programmes.
“Before anything can be released by the CBN, they always want to know what you want to procure; how you want to procure it and from which manufacturer will you be getting it from?” he further explained.