Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State yesterday approved 150 hectares of land and N100million seed capital for the 150 Libyan returnees and victims of human trafficking, who completed a skills acquisition training at the Edo Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) office in Benin City.
Obaseki, who made the announcement during the graduation ceremony of the returnees, directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to immediately liaise with the relevant authorities towards securing the land for the returnees to commence agribusinesses.
Obaseki said the returnees will be organised into cooperatives under the supervision of the Benin Owena River Basin Authority and the Edo Agricultural Development Programme (ADP). He commended the returnees, 51 of whom were trained on crop production, 15 on Agro-processing, 68 on livestock farming and 52 on Fish farming, for availing themselves of the training opportunity and promised to make them ambassadors in the state-wide campaign against human trafficking and illegal migration. He explained that the returnees are victims of a country that has failed them, adding that the state government has a duty to make them realise their God-given potential.
According to the Governor,“We ordinarily shouldn’t be talking about the menace of slavery given the experience we have had. “But it is a reality today and we have no choice but to tackle it. However, it is pertinent to point out the fact that modern day slavery, in its various forms, such as forced labour, debt bondage and human trafficking, has no place among us.
“To effectively abolish slave trade as we have it today, it takes a coordinated, deep reaching, international coalition that will take into cognisance the various forms of modern day slavery and compel perpetrators to back down.”