Widows of the fallen heroes in Gombe State have appealed for more support from Nigerians to enable them to improve their wellbeing.
They made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria, as part of activities to mark the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, in Gombe on Tuesday.
According to them, living without their breadwinners made lives “difficult and challenging” for them.
Mrs Talatu Ali, 65, said that her husband died nearly 30 years ago, immediately after his retirement from the army and since then she had been fending for the seven children alone.
She said the task had been “overwhelming and tidious” without support.
Ali said she and her children had been living from hand-to-mouth for several years, adding that, “we are still not out of it even though three of my children are now married”.
She said after her husband’s death, some of her children stayed with relatives who promised to send them to school but turned them to hawkers which affected their ability to get educated.
Ali, a resident of Billiri town in Billiri Local Government of Gombe State, stressed the need for Nigerians to show more love and care for widows and children of the fallen heroes.
“This is because of the fallen heroes’ huge sacrifices to the unity and peace of the country.”
On her part, Mrs Esther Manzo, who hailed from Kumo town in Akko LGA, said her husband died in 2003 after retirement.
Manzo said her late husband and her household didn’t enjoy a dime from the retirement money paid to the fallen hero, “because my husband was involved in an accident along Numan in Adamawa and the money carted away.
“The dream of having our children to be well-educated as well as invest in business and large-scale farming for our future died with my husband,” she said.
The widow said her children could only get secondary school certificates due to lack of means to further their education.
She urged Nigerians to support widows of the fallen heroes in their communities, adding that many of them were having serious challenges coping with life.
Manzo further advised wives of living service men to prepare for the future by engaging in businesses to support their households.
“My family is feeding today because I rent a land to farm and engage in eatery trade which I use the proceed to fend my households.”
She commended the Gombe State government and the Nigeria Legion in the state chapter for supporting them with grinding machine to improve her businesses.
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