Nigeria: Edo receives almost 5,000 Libya returnees in two years

Since 2017, the Edo State government claims to have received and reintegrated 4,943 locals who had become stuck in Libya. 

The returnees, 214 of which were children, had been irregular migrants or victims of human trafficking. While stranded in Libya, they were at risk of exploitation, arbitrary detention and becoming caught in the crossfire of the ongoing conflict. 

In response, the Government of Edo State has spent over NGN 300 million (USD 845,000) to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of returnees over the last two years, according to a statement made at a news conference in Benin by Yinka Omoregbe, Chairperson of the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT).

As part of its rehabilitation and reintegration programme for returnees, the state government said it is constructing permanent homes to accommodate indigenes who have become stranded abroad.

“The facility will assist the state government in strengthening the fight against human trafficking and irregular migration by offering the returnees a lot of guidance and counselling sessions. This puts them on a better pedestal to succeed,” said Mr Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy.

Omoregbe also noted that the task force is working with stakeholders to sensitise the public on the dangers of irregular migration and human trafficking as well as providing support systems for returnees in the state.

“We are also involved in the investigation and prosecution of those involved in the act as well as examining the root cause of trafficking. Similarly, we also sensitise our people against the danger of travelling out through illegal means,” she said.

Omorogbe also told journalists that the task force’s achievements have changed international perceptions on Edo State. She said: “Our efforts in Edo State have been acknowledged internationally.”

Edo, a Southern state in Nigeria, has become a hotbed for irregular migration and human trafficking. In early 2000, it was alleged that the majority of African sex workers in Italy were from Edo State.

TMP – 10/09/2019

Photo credit:

Photo caption: Libya returnees on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State, Nigeria.