Human Trafficking: Obaseki advocates market linkages for returnees, tasks BATN on agric research farm in Edo   


…as Foundation completes skills training for 100 returnees

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called on non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders working with the state government on returnees’ reintegration to prioritise market linkages for profitable business ventures such that victims of human trafficking will have the right incentives to steer clear of vices.

The governor made the submission when he received executive members of the British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) Foundation, led by the Executive Director, Abimbola Okoya, on a courtesy visit to Government House, in Benin City, Edo State.

Obaseki commended the BATN Foundation for their efforts at  alleviating the plight of victims of human trafficking, in collaboration with the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT).

He expressed optimism that the parent organisation, the British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN), would consider setting up an agricultural research farm in the state, where youths can be engaged and discouraged from engaging in irregular migration.

He said the state government is not oblivious of the fact that not all those who benefitted from skills training would be successfully engaged in entrepreneurial ventures, stressing that equipping them with the right attitude to business and linking them with profitable ventures also form a key part of keeping them away from vices.

 “Training someone and giving them a starter kit is not a guarantee that they will not go back to being trafficked. Our emphasis is on linking the returnees with opportunities and a ready market so that the training and equipment will provide a means of sustainable livelihood,” he noted.

The governor expressed appreciation to the BATN Foundation for taking interest in Edo State and its strategies for curbing irregular migration, urging that only a sustainable approach will guarantee success.

Earlier, Executive Director of BATN Foundation, Abimbola Okoya, explained that though they  started out with agricultural development programmes, they have taken interest in the returnees’ crisis and are keen on supporting the state government’s efforts to curb the ugly trend.

Okoya said the foundation is currently engaged in a campaign, tagged, ‘Wealth is Here’ to encourage returnees to realise that they need not go in search of greener pastures abroad.

She said 100 returnees have been trained and would be empowered with start-up kits.