By Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that his administration is working with the federal government on a programme that will assist skilled people to migrate legally.
Obaseki who said this on Monday in his New Year broadcast, explained that the initiative is part of efforts to dissuade people from embarking on illegal and dangerous journeys to Europe by land and sea.
“As part of our efforts to stop human trafficking and illegal migration, my government is currently working on a project with the Federal Government to assist people to migrate legally and properly. Our skills centres will offer training, certification and visas under well defined structures which will allow those who want to travel to do so safely and with dignity,” he said.
Recalling the challenges that marked the past year, such as the economic recession which he described as the “worst in decades,” he noted that “perhaps, our saddest moment in 2017, was the very shocking and sad experiences of our sons and daughters in Libya: who fell victims to one of the worst forms of evil, which is human trafficking, including our children, that left our shores with high hopes for greener pastures only to be subjected to all manner of inhuman treatments such as slavery, organ harvesting while many died in the Sahara Desert and in the Mediterranean Sea.”
The governor stressed that “We were all pained to read harrowing accounts of the experiences of the returnees and even more pained to see videos of their unfortunate experiences on the internet.
“We are cooperating with the Federal Government, development partners and other stakeholders to execute a comprehensive strategy to identify, track, arrest and prosecute all those involved in this heinous crime.
“We have also put in place a comprehensive welcome, documentation, counselling, training, rehabilitation and empowerment programme for the returnees. I am glad to inform you all that we are recording great successes on all fronts.
He further said that his administration resorted to tough economic decisions and relied on the creativity and support of all Edo people to weather the storm in 2017.