By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Edo State Government has responded to N7.4 million money allegedly used to procure Identity cards for migrant returnees from North Africa nations and European continent to the State, which implicitly invoked scandal a year ago.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe on Monday denied any financial impropriety when the incident that set Facebook buzzing and Twitter chirping occurred.
While responding to concerns arising from the project during a media briefing on Monday at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State, She described the allegations as “gross misrepresentation of facts and baseless point” to smear her reputation which she has laboured to build over the years by a fifth Columnist.
The Commissioner said “to avoid public duplication because of its security implications, the 3,000 cards have a secured watermark and guard” hence the need for a database to hold their information as an identify management
According to her, “with the large number of returnees who came into Edo State, it becomes imperative that modern systems were employed to uniquely identify beneficiaries of the government scheme” as well as cater for the returnees also referred to as Go-getters with the aim of reintegrating them back to the society which they had left without stigmatisation.
Prof. Omorogbe, stated that no government or organization has given the State government any physical cash towards the assistance of returnees in the past two years, except logistics support and trainees.
She however, declined comment on the health status of the returnees, but explained that “some are HIV positive persons.
“One question that came to me here about health issues, I am not at liberty to answer.
“I guess just in the same way as regular people in the society. There is a portion of them that are HIV positive, not particularly more that the societal number.
“Apart from that, there is a very big interaction. We have people that are purely Counsellors.
“They have problems…We do not have the funds to establish every returnees, but where we see that there are huge problems that you just can’t stand, then we call in those people that are compassionate help us.
“But, the State government has also rendered much assistance to rehabilitate the returnees.
“We do just give them money by hands…Every month, I meet with the women personally. It is like a mentoring class where we talk about different things happening”, she said there is no holding back on issues that border on their welfare.
Speaking further, she said the State government has spent the sum of N300 million on migrant returnees that came to the State during the period.
Of the amount, the sum of N100 million was used for the payment of stipends to the 4943 returnees during the period.
3329 of the migrants are male while 1400 are female alongside 214 Children, according to her.