By Robert Awokuse
President and founder of Happy Moment for Widows and Children Foundation (HMWCF) Princess Adunni Adetona has disclosed why she would rather give her tithe to widows instead of following the biblical injunction of paying it in church.
Tithe, according to the Bible in Christianity, is 10 percent of one’s earnings which is expected to be paid in church.
But Princess Adetona, who is a Christian by Faith, said she would rather offer her tithes to the widows and the less privileged than pay them in church.
Speaking to Church Times during an empowerment programme for widows in Lagos recently, Adetona, who is a widow, expressed disappointment in church clerics and leadership.
She explained that shortly after the demise of her husband, many of the religious leaders whom she thought would assist her wanted to take advantage of her disposition.
She described this crop of clerics as “disappointment to the body of Christ”.
Adetona said “I have vowed to continuously give 10 percent of my earnings to charity. I decided to give the ten percent to widow because religious organisations have failed. I stopped going to church due to the experience I had after my husband died.
“The so called religion leaders I believe would have assisted me wanted to sleep with me; it is wrong for a Christian leader, who calls himself a man of God to do such because I was still in mourning period.
“And these are people who will be urging members to pay tithes and offering. Sincerely these individuals are disappointment to the church. And I am ashamed to be identified with them,” she stated.
Speaking on the empowerment programme, the HMWCF president expressed concerns over the plight of widows in the country.
She noted that many of the women are confronted with issues bordering on finance, hostility from in-laws, sexual abuse, homelessness, amongst other things.
Many of these women, she said, had little or nothing to fall back on when their husbands died.
Adetona lamented a situation whereby 30 widows sleep in one room apartment at Railway area in Ikeja, Lagos state, with charges of N100 on each occupant per night.
The president, who through her foundation, a non governmental organization, has since 2011 after the death of her husband, been supporting widows and less privileged children in empowerment and vocational skills.
“The empowerment is done to ameliorate the plight of widows through provisions of products to support whatever business the widows are doing,” she said.
“Being a widow myself, I understand what they go through so I resolved that within my little capacity I will give back to the society by helping the widows because many of them are left with nothing when their husbands passed on. They are faced with hardship and hostility from their in-laws; some are even throw out of their homes, especially those who did not have children for their late husband’s.
“There are places here in Ikeja around Railway where in one room apartment 30 women live. They pay 100 naira every day to sleep in this room and they pay to use convenience, all because of survival. These are their plights.
“And I have resolved to be using my tithes as my own window’s mites to be supporting them in my own little way instead of taking it to church.”
She said the widows were usually supported with cash, food materials and other items, and are trained in different vocational skills.
Princess Adetona further expressed gratitude to organizations and individuals who have contributed to the empowerment.
“I want to thank members of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja; chairman of the swimming pool section of the club, Mr Dare Dada too; Glass House Social Club, Abule-Egba; Mojoy Computer, Computer Village, Ikeja.”
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Mojisola Ajinoba said she lost her husband twelve years ago and since she met Princess Adetona her life has changed.
Mojisola who is 59 years old thanked God for the founder and the organization for coming to their aid.
Mrs Aina Akinreti, another beneficiary said “Princess Adetona has made my family happy through her financial and material support since my husband died seven years ago. I am calling on federal and state government as well as well meaning Nigerians to support the founder who is also a widow.”
The president further called on the government and philanthropists to support widows.
“There is need for government to support widows. Many of them suffer severe hostility from in-laws that they are thrown out of their homes to the streets.
“These are the plights of many widows in Nigeria. So we want government to help us. Though government is trying but they need to do more and ensure that the support actually gets to those widows who are in dire need of help.
“And I want to also use this medium to call on notable charitable foundations like Dangote and the likes with the support of the government to build places for these women as many of them are hawkers some of whom were thrown out of their homes when their husband died. The foundation house might be a temporary home at least to ease their sleeping condition. And these are women from age 30 upward.”