By Kemi Olaitan
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, yesterday assured the state of the commitment of his government to ensure the repatriation of all its indigenes trafficked to Lebanon.
This is just as he said the state would not stand by and watch its indigenes suffer dehumanisation under any guise.
A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor made the pledge while receiving a brief on the plight of Oyo State indigenes trafficked to Lebanon from the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu.
According to the governor, “We will pay for the repatriation of all Oyo State indigenes who have been confirmed to have been trafficked to Lebanon. Please put all necessary plans in place to bring them back.
“I understand that some well-meaning individuals and groups have made some donations to some of the victims, let them use such donations as pocket money.
“This state will pay for their flights and the fees requested to conduct COVID-19 tests on each of them.”
Makinde was informed that a number of Oyo State indigenes had been discovered to be illegal migrants trafficked into apparent modern-day slavery in Lebanon.
Sarumi-Aliyu said while 40 of such victims have been screened and ready to come back home, more victims were still being discovered, adding that her office had been working closely with the Lebanese authorities to identify Oyo State indigenes stranded in Lebanon while the 40 victims already screened would return home this month.
“We are expecting them back on a special flight on August 12. The government of Governor Makinde has shown renewed commitment to the welfare of our people in the diaspora, and we are pleased with that.
“Since the government found out that we have some victims of human trafficking, who are stranded in Lebanon, we have stepped in.
“On July 11, we received 11 victims and they are going through rehabilitation with the social workers in the Ministry of Women Affairs. The state has given commitment that they will all be empowered,” the governor’s aide said.