By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Edo has earned bad reputation as the state with highest number of human trafficking, recording more than 3,883 Libya returnees since November 2017.
Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, the Chairman of the state Task Force Against Human trafficking and Illegal Migration, regretted on Tuesday that the scourge had given the state a bad name.
At an advocacy programme at Abudu, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo, she said the governor was worried that more than half of Nigerian returnees from Libya were from Edo while Orhionmwon Council Area takes the lead in the state.
“Human trafficking is a bad business. Don’t involve or allow yourself to be trafficked by those looking for young men and women to be exploited.
“We are informing you so that you won’t learn the hard way. Many others who have gone and returned are gnashing their teeth now.
“Our children undergo slavery there. We have records of thousands of Nigerians who were killed or missing in the Sahara Desert, Libya or Mediterranean Sea.
“But the traffickers don’t tell you the hard life your children undergo there; how they are kidnapped in connivance with them and parents and other relations end up sending money from here to Libya.
“They only tell you their success stories that are not true. Beware of the antics of the traffickers,” she said.
The government, he said, was committed to tackling the menace through the creation of jobs across the state.
Omorogbe, who is also the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, said government was committed to addressing human trafficking.
Omorogbe, however, advised the people to report anyone who attempts to woo them to the task force for investigation and subsequent prosecution.
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Mr Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, who was also at the advocacy programme, commended the administration’s commitment to tackling human trafficking.
He said the state’s governor was working round the clock to change the narrative by investing massively in human capital development.
On his part, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Anti Human Trafficking Issues, Mr Solomon Okoduwa, said the taskforce would sustain the advocacy.
Okoduwa called on parents, religious bodies as well as the international community to partner Edo in the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration.
“We have over 4,000 Libya returnees as I speak, but we are saying this must not be allowed to continue.
“What we are saying is that the government cannot do it all alone; we are appealing to religious leaders and the traditional institution to help mount vigorous campaign against this menace,’’ he said. (NAN)