Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Governor Godwin Obaseki, of Edo State has hinged the cause of irregular migration and human trafficking on economic reasons. He said this in Benin at the presentation of certificates and equipment to 100 Libya returnees who were given empowerment training under the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATN) livelihood support and social project.
The governor who was represented by the State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Emmanuel Usoh, said the state’s returnees welcome programme was designed to address unemployment, under-employment and employability skills gap, towards stemming irregular migration and human trafficking.
“What is being achieved today is a perfect proof of the possibilities that can be achieved through determination and the right decision-making, no matter the time or circumstance we find ourselves.
“I want to especially salute these graduands because in them you would find proofs of their personal efforts, the relief which corporate social responsibility brings.
“Having identified economic reasons as the main causative factor of irregular migration and human trafficking, Edo State government has therefore decided to boost the economic potential of our youths and indeed, Libya returnees, through capacity enhancement programmes,” Obaseki said.
He advised the graduands not to sell the work tools given to them for any reason.
The Executive Director of BATF, Abimbola Okoya, said the foundation built human capacity development of the returnees in the areas of fabrication and welding, tailoring and fashion design, bead making and make up artistry.
“The news of the Libya slavery re-echoes the prevailing issue of unemployment in the country and the African continent; that has necessitated so many young people to believe that they have better opportunities to excel anywhere, but Nigeria. This is not true.
“In 2018, the company began a national campaign called wealth is here, to encourage the youths to believe in Nigeria and leverage on the country’s resources to create wealth.
“As part of efforts to drive the campaign and encourage returnees to explore wealth creating opportunities in Nigeria, the foundation, in partnership with the Edo State government, through the joint task force on anti-human trafficking, implemented the livelihood support and social security project,” she said.
Earlier, the Chairman of Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking Committee, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, said there were a total of 4,202 Libya returnees in the state’s database.
Omorogbe who was represented by the Assistant Secretary of the committee, Mrs. Lilian Garuba, urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the empowerment tools.