The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has decried the reported sale of persons into modern-day slavery in Libya, describing the incident as a â€œdesecration of the sanctity of humanity.â€
In a statement, the governor, who condemned the act as an â€œevil that must be stopped at all cost,â€ said that indigenes of Edo State, who may have been caught up in the web of human traffickers, should come back home, as his government has set up systems to reintegrate into society.
The governor was reacting to a recent report by America-based news channel, Cable News Network (CNN), in which victims of human trafficking, who were stuck in Libya, were being auctioned as salves for as low as $400.
According to the governor, â€œI received the news of the incident with shock because it reduces the value of the human to the basest levels. In fact, this takes us back to the age of slave trade, which, I believe, doesnâ€™t have a place in modern society.
â€œThat this is happening shows that many have lost their way. This applies to those who are involved in this trade and those who created the environment for such a dastardly act to thrive.â€
He reiterated the state governmentâ€™s support initiative for returnees, promising to integrate them back into society through skills training and provision of stipends to ease their resettlement.
Noting that the state is attracting investment that will make contemplating to embark on such treacherous journeys a thing of the past, he said, â€œWe are building structures to make this state a hub for industrial activity. We have the best of arable land in the country. In time past, there was not enough incentive to invest in this state, but we are removing all the encumbrances.
â€œWe are also soliciting for international efforts to provide an even more robust package for the returnees and also create an environment that will discourage people from migrating illegally to Europe. We are convinced that there are opportunities back home and we want to make sure the people back here tap from them and do not have reasons to leave.â€