Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Chairperson, Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT) and Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe, yesterday, disclosed that the state has received a total of 4,943 Libya returnees from 2017 till date.
She also said the government has spent well over N300 million for their upkeep and other sundries logistics in the period under review.
Prof. Omoregbe disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Benin Benin City on the activities of the task force within its two years of existence.
She explained that the successes recorded so far by the state government under her leadership has corrected the earlier wrong impression held by the international communities on the state, adding that she was proud to be part of the success stories.
“Our efforts in Edo have been acknowledged internationally. If you look at the trafficking in persons before 2019, you will see that copious references are made to Edo State and there is no doubt that this is one reason why Edo State in that report was actually upgraded because they saw our great efforts and they saw the different things being done in the state.
“This is definitely a landmark achievement of this government and we are happy to be part of it.
“Now, the state has so far, looked after nearly 5000 returnees and will continue to do that but that number, today, is 4,943 returnees that have been received from Libya and these returnees are apart from those ones that come to us outside the plane loads that came in from Libya as a a result of their assisted flights by the International Office Migration. So, all these 4,943 persons that came back with Libya flights were brought back by us to Edo State and they are under our care in some forms and the other. We have men, 3, 329, females, 1,400 and children, 214.
“Happily, we have had many births because many of the women have come pregnant. So, we also have babies as well that were not born but has since been born since they have come back”, she said.
Professor Omoregbe while refuting the claim that she inflated the cost price of identity cards for the returnees, cautioned the peddler of such information to always get their facts right before going to the public.
“We further refer to the deceitful statements about a ‘N7.4m ID card project’ that spoke about inflating the sun for the ID cards issued to about 3,000 members of the group and state that it is a gross misrepresentation of facts and a baseless point.
“With the large number of returnees who came into Edo State, it became imperative that modern systems were employed to uniquely identify beneficiaries of the government’s scheme to identify and cater for the special needs of returnees also referred to as ‘Go-Getters with the aim of re-integrating them back into the society they had left without stigmatization”, she said.
She stated that the task force has not received any cash from international donors but all it has got was assistance like provision of lunch, venues etc which have also helped in their fight against human trafficking in the state, noting that all the financies used has been received from the state government.
She said the claim by some returnees that they have not been given any financial assistance was false and should not be taken seriously.
“All the different people who claimed that they have not been given anything, they have substantially be given money and also, every returnee that had come up to a particular time when the state government could not do it again, has been given N60,000 at least.
“The second thing I want to tell us and they do not even tell us, every returnee gets something from the International Office of Migration and many of them have already received it. That is the truth of the matter, they will never come out to say that which they have been given”, Prof. Omoregbe said.