President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday hosted the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, at the presidential villa Abuja where they discussed human trafficking and what to do with Nigerians who were recently rescued from slavery in Libya.
Shortly after emerging from the meeting, Mr. Obaseki, in a brief chat with reporters, said Friday’s meeting was his first with Mr. Buhari since he assumed office as governor of Edo state in November 2016.
“I have not seen the president officially since I became the governor of a Edo State, so I came to pay him a proper visit and to pledge our support particularly since he got back home from his medical leave and the family accident, so I used the opportunity to felicitate with him and to wish him well,” he said.
The governor also said he discussed “two critical issues” with Mr. Buhari.
The first, he said, “is the issue of human trafficking and irregular migration”.
“As you know it is a problem with Edo which we have accepted and we have rolled out our strategies to deal with them and we want to work with the federal government and other agencies of government to end this scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery.
“It is against the ethos of humanity for us to accept what is going on with our young people today.”
He said he took advantage of the meeting with the president to tell him what the state government was doing about the problem and to seek the support of the federal government.
Mr. Obaseki also spoke about reports of some persons recently brought back to the country who complained about the stipend given to them upon their return.
“That is part of the challenge. The issues are very complex. The first set that were brought back by International Organization for Migration (IOM) were given stipend but the last wave of returnees that were repatriated, nothing was given to them and they were a bit agitated.
“What we have done in Edo is to help returnees settle and be reintegrated back to their families and we give them stipend for three months.
“So what we have done this time around is to bring them to Benin city and then give them the first stipend to go back home and then be able to attend the skills acquisition centres which we have set up to train them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has also said it would provide educational support to victims of human trafficking especially those who recently returned to the country.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu gave the assurance while exchanging views on rehabilitation strategies of deported illegal migrants with the Edo Governor who also visited him in Abuja.
In a statement the ministry of issued on Friday, Mr. Adamu promised to render help “beyond the request of the Governor in order to curtail the migration crisis by advancing the educational levels of all the victims.”
The minister advised Governor Obaseki to make a formal request to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, for special interventions from the state’s tertiary institutions to be used to actualise his (Obaseki) plans.
Similarly, the governor, who has been active in the area of providing succour to the returnees especially those from his state appealed to the minister to consider “special help” for the state to upgrade its three colleges of education and the polytechnics to be used to train such persons.
The governor said his government’s research reviewed that most of the deported migrants and trafficked persons are of low academic levels, adding that equipping them with better education and skills will enhance their orientations and lifestyle.
He said his state will meet up with any criteria that would qualify the designated tertiary institutions to merit Tetfund interventions.
Nigeria in recent weeks has witnessed the massive return of its citizens from across the globe, many deported from Libya.
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