Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has appointed a Benin-based human rights activist, Mr Solomon Okoduwa as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration.
Okoduwa, who has been at the forefront on piblic enlightenment on the dangers of illegal migration and benefits of getting engaged back home in Nigeria and Edo in particular, is the President of Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Reintegration (IYAMIDR). He was also a member of the state committee against human trafficking.
Following the reported repatriation of over 5000 Nigerians from Libya, where illegal immigrants went through experiences described by one victim as “worse than hell”, Edo State has witnessed an unprecedented number of returnees.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe on Thursday disclosed that 1,439 returnees had been received by the government from late October to date.
Omorogbe said that after documentation of the returnees, they were allowed to return to their home while others are accommodated by government for reintegration.
The Commissioner said that the state government pay monthly stipend to the returnees, adding that the returnees would later be engaged in an empowerment programme in January.
Edo State is identified as a major contributor of male and female immigrants who try desperate and even fatal ways to get into Europe, usually via Libya. The horrendous experiences of such illegal immigrants again dominated public discourse following a report by CNN, which showed how full bodied Africans were being sold as slaves through auctions.