NOWA and Its Charitable Valentine Love Affair 

To commemorate this year’s St Valentine Day’s celebration, the Naval Officers’ Wives Association, NOWA, extended its charitable acts to those in the hospitals and the Female Correctional Facility at Kirikiri. Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that this generosity was in tandem with the ethos of which it was birthed and nurtured about 59 years ago 

Every February 14 is commemorated as 

Valentine’s Day. Also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, the day originated as a Christian feast day honoring a martyr named Valentine.

Over the years, it has become a  significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. 

Keeping faith with the world love day this year, the Naval Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA) undertook an outreach to three selected Nigerian Navy (NN) hospitals and the Female Correctional Facility at Kirikiri. 

According to the group, this charitable philanthropy was engineered to show kindness and compassion in commemoration of the St Valentine’s Day to those in the hospitals and the Female Correctional Facility at Kirikiri.

Led by NOWA National Vice President,  Mrs. Zainab Akpan, who represented 

the NOWA National President, Mrs. Ijeoma Ogalla, the women, while bearing gifts, thronged three hospitals and then visited the female inmates to boost their spirits. 

Accompanied by accompanied by the Coordinator of Western Naval Command Mrs. Bukola Hassan, the NOWA National Executives, the Western Naval Command Zonal directors, and NOWA members in the command, the group carried gifts for patients, the hospital, and then donations to the Female Correctional Centre in Kirikiri, Apapa, all in Lagos. 

The outreach was carried out in Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital Ojo; Obisesan Hospital Mobil Road and Naval Dockyard Hospital, Victoria Island, as well as the Female Correctional Facility,Kirikiri. 

 Mrs. Akpan, who shared bags laden with confectionaries and essentials, first boosted their spirits with loving words of hope, faith and purpose. She also donated several bedsheets to the respective hospitals. 

At the female correctional centre, the NOWA members were met with inmates at the chapel. It provided ample opportunity for Mrs. Akpan to share the Good News of Salvation, Hope and Faith. She urged the female inmates not to give up hope, rather, make the best use of their time behind the bars to create greater purpose. 

These charitable acts on Valentine’s Day has further solidified the reason why NOWA was created and nurtured by generations of military wives- to be the change they seek in touching lives. 

Naval Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA)

For the military, it’s a given that when their homes are stable and comfortable, they often execute their responsibilities to the nation more effectively. 

This all important role often falls on their wives. Although they may not be kitted in military uniforms or fight at the warfront, they are tackling a more formidable task: keeping the family unit and immediate communities together. 

Also understanding the bond of unity and its far-reaching results, these military wives have formed associations to keep each other accountable and also help their immediate communities. 

For the Nigerian Navy, the Naval Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA) is that support system. From a small tea group that began in 1965, these women have become stronger and much more formidable, growing to become pillars of their communities as they touch lives through the association. 

NOWA Leadership Trajectory 

NOWA came into being on November 30, 1965 under the leadership of Mrs. Anne Wey, wife of the first indigenous Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey of blessed memory as a small ‘Tea Group’ for light-hearted discussion by wives of naval officers to kill boredom because of the regular absence of their husbands to sea, also as a forum of rendering assistance to wives of naval ratings in and out of the barracks.

Past presidents of the body include: Mrs. Ann Wey, Mrs. B Boroh, Mrs. Bisi Adelanwa, Mrs. Bekky Aduwo, Mrs. Rebecca Aikhomu, Mrs. Margret Koshoni, Mrs. Zainab Nyako, Mrs. Apollonian Omatsola, Mrs. Lola Saidu, Mrs. Uche Madueke, Dr. Josephine Akhigbe, Mrs. Jemilat Ayinla, Mrs. Betty Ombu, Mrs. Treasure Sam-Afolayan, Chief Mrs. Fatimat Adekeye, Mrs. Grace Ibrahim, Hajia Aminat Modupe Ibrahim, Mrs. Vivian Ezeoba and Mrs. Lami Jibrin, Mrs. Theresa Ibas, Mrs. Aisha Gambo and now, Mrs. Ijeoma Ogalla as the latest president. 

Wide Range of NOWA’s Prowess

Essentially, NOWA was and still is a forum where social problems relating to the less privileged in the society are discussed and where contributions are made to assist the needy.

In the past 59 years, NOWA has recorded a number of achievements in its efforts to complement the efforts of the NN in welfare-related projects in the barracks. They are in the areas of education, charitable ventures, economic empowerment, health and social services as well as sporting activities

Today, NOWA engages in a wide range of activities and these includes the provision of crèches in naval barracks and bases, establishment of schools and skill acquisitions centre, provision of market stalls as well as providing general welfare support to officers’ and ratings’ families.

 These activities and projects serve to complement the efforts of the NN in enhancing the welfare of the families of naval personnel. 

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