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Edo Receives 1,800 Libyan Returnees In 44 days

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Edo Receives 1,800 Libyan Returnees In 44 days

THE Edo State Government has received no fewer than 1,800 returnees who were repatriated from Libya amidst growing concerns over modern-day slavery in the North African country.

The returnees were among thousands of other Nigerians airlifted by the Federal Government in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration.

The state government had set up a task force on anti-human trafficking led by the Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, to help the victims to reintegrate into society.

It also organised skills acquisition programmes for the returnees and placed them on a stipend for three months.

The secretary of the task force, Mrs. Oyemwense Abieyuwa, told Southern City News that a new batch of 49 returnees, comprising 37 males, 11 females and a baby, was received last Friday.

Abieyuwa stated, “We have about 1,800 returnees. It (operation) has been going on smoothly to the glory of God. We have been improving our operation.

“Medically, they (returnees) are being attended to. In terms of logistics, we are trying to keep up to ensure that they are properly rehabilitated.”

She said the task force had enlarged its scope of medical care and counseling, while the first batch of returnees had received their stipends.

“Other batches will receive theirs as and when due. The members of the task force are working day and night so as to get the bank details as accurately as possible,” she added.

Abieyuwa further stated that the task force had taken steps to ward off impersonators, who might want to capitalise on the opportunities created for the returnees.

She said, “We have had some experiences, but we have also been very vigilant and we have our staff on the ground to ensure that persons do not come here to impersonate.

“So, what we do is to be very vigilant. Only those we bring back from Lagos will be taken care of.”

Also speaking, the Head of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration unit of the task force, Florence Nwaonuma, said that the intervention by the state government could not have come at a better time as human trafficking had been a major challenge facing the country for years.

Nwaonuma explained, “Apart from human trafficking, there is even another dimension, which is economic migration; and the young ones engage in it through illegal means.

“The torture they go through is not worth it. But those of them who have been coming back have experienced some changes and they are happy.

“The deep yearning for money is still there. Some of them say they want money or would want to go back.”

She, however, called for continuous awareness campaign at the state and local government levels to discourage the youths from embarking on dangerous journeys.

She said, “It is much more difficult to deal with the returnees when they come back. So, it is better we prevent them from going.

“The only thing I think is the solution is sustained awareness at different levels, while we work with those who, by the grace of God, have returned alive.”

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