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Human trafficking: NAPTIP hands over 21 victims to Edo govt

• JAAC declares N2.10bn allocation for LGs

From Tony Osauzo, Benin

National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has handed over 21 victims of human trafficking, including a baby and nine-year-old boy to Edo State Government.

The baby and the boy were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea when they lost track of their mother while crossing to Europe.

The victims, who were recently deported from Libya, were handed over, in the spirit of the new partnership for development  between the agency and Edo State government.

Last week, NAPTIP Director General, Julie Okah-Donli, sought the state government’s support, in the rehabilitation and empowerment of victims of human trafficking. 

Governor Godwin Obaseki, who visited NAPTIP office and shelter, pledged the support of his government in training and empowerment of victims for proper reintegration to address the root causes of the problem of human trafficking.

Head of Service, Mrs Gladys Idaho, who received the victims on behalf of the state government, said the governor was concerned with the welfare of every one, and added that the entire society must stand up for victims of human trafficking. 

She urged the victims not to regret the past but look forward for an assured future.

The youngest of the victims is a baby of six months old, whose mother was said to have been impregnated by an insurgent during the journey to Libya. 

The average age of the victims is 22 years.

At the handing-over ceremony, some of the victims opted to be trained in vocational skills such as fashion and design, hair dressing,  catering and hotel management, event management while others opted to go back to school.

Obaseki, had earlier pledged to give scholarship to those who wanted to go back to school.

Meanwhile, Edo Joint Account and Allocation Committee (JAAC) has declared N2.10 billion as total allocation to the 18 local governments in the state, from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and the Federation Account for March.

Head of Local Government Administration, Owan East Local Government, Mr. Akeens Ade-Akhani, disclosed this at the weekend, at the end of the JAAC meeting, which held at Edo State Government House, in Benin.

The committee declared N1.89 billion as total allocation to the 18 councils in the state for February.

Ade-Akhani attributed the increment of about N21 million in March, to the introduction of an electronic means of revenue collection process in some councils.

He said about N15 million and N7 million were collected as revenue in Oredo and Egor councils respectively using the electronic process from March 22 to May 11.

In addition, he noted that N1.36 billion of the total allocation accruable in March was used as mandatory expenditure, including payment of primary school teachers’ salaries, traditional rulers and training fund percentage while N748 million served as distributable amount to the councils, for the payment of staff salaries.

He also disclosed that governor Obaseki has charged the heads of various councils to ensure they join the state government to tackle its security challenges. 

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