By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Benin – Edo government says it would work with civil society groups to sensitise people of the state on the dangers associated with human trafficking and illegal migration.
Mr Solomon Okoduwa, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration to Gov. Godwin Obaseki said this in a statement issued in Benin on Sunday as part of activities to mark the International Migrants Day holding on Monday.
The SSA noted that the annual rally which is convened under the umbrella of Network against Human Trafficking, (NCAHT), will also afford stakeholders the opportunity to raise awareness among the youth on the issues.
He said nearly 1,800 indigenes of the state who were repatriated from Libya had been received by government, adding that the returnees were initially heading to Europe in their search for greener pasture.
Okoduwa said Dec.18 was set aside as the International Migrants’ Day to remember those who lost their lives in the course of illegally migrating to Europe or as victims of human trafficking.
The governor’s aide advised the youth to begin to search for opportunities that would help them to improve their lives in their own country instead of seeking their fortunes elsewhere.
He said the day would afford all stakeholders to collaborate with the government so as to strengthen the fight against human trafficking and support in reintegration of returnees.
“We call on international community to commence their implementation of returnee programme in Edo state and Nigeria, to serve as discouragement to intending migrants.
“Edo state government under the leadership of Mr Godwin Obaseki will continue to initiate programmes that will ensure sustainable means of livelihood for our youths in Edo state.
“We sympathise with the families of those that lost their lives in the Sahara desert and Mediterranean Sea while trying to cross to Europe through Libya.
“We wish to reiterate that no amount of joblessness, hunger and unemployment can justify the risk involved in the perilous and hazardous journey to Libya. There is hope in Nigeria,”he added.