The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, yesterday flagged off five licensed cooperative societies as part of his Widows Empowerment Programme initiated early this year.

Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the 51st Ooni of Ife

Ogunwusi, while addressing the widows numbering about five thousand from across Ifeland including Modakeke appealed to the well-to-do people in the society to assist the government in eradicating poverty facing the downtrodden in the country, especially widows.

He said the cooperative initiative was developed to empower the widows, who are mostly victims of Ife/Modakeke communal war several years ago for a self-reliance and also promised not to stop his monthly donation of food and cash. The monarch said he has deposited a sum of N2.5 million in Olofin Microfinance Bank, Ile-Ife as a take-off grant to enable the widows have access to loans for their businesses.

He said the idea of assisting them came when some widows visited him with gifts when he ascended the throne late last year and urged them to make use of the loan sincerely because the loan which requires no collateral when repaid will be given out to others.