Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Some Libya returnees in Edo State, yesterday disrupted an empowerment programme over alleged selective approach and favouritism.
The aggrieved returnees had stormed the King Square, venue of the programme put together by the task force against Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration and destroyed some items, including part of the tent, chairs and six ceiling fans and also deflated the tyres of official vehicle of a member of the committee, Solomon Okoduwa.
Trouble reportedly started when one of the returnees, Jude Ikuenobe, protested the non-payment of their monthly stipend, selective empowerment, alleging that the task force saddled with the responsibility of returnees had failed.
Normalcy was, however, restored after some security personnel drafted from the Oba Market Police Station were invited before the event commenced.
According Jude Ikuenobe, while some of them (returnees) have been around for sometime, those who just arrived in December have been enjoying the benefits of the task force.
“They have given some of those who just returned N1 million while those of us who came before them are yet to get anything from the government.
“We know Governor Godwin Obaseki is trying but we are sorry to say the members of the task force he put in place are busy enjoying themselves with what is meant to be for us (returnees). They have resorted to treating us selectively, depending on who you know.
“I am aware that even those who have been trained on various aspects of agriculture are yet to get the grant and land promised by the governor.
“How then do you explain the rationale behind giving some individuals who just arrived in December, N1 million as empowerment.
“While we remain grateful to the governor, we however want the task force to be upright in their duty by doing the right thing,” he said.
In his reaction, the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, Solomon Okoduwa, denied the allegation of selective empowerment, adding that they (returnees) have all been factored into various empowerment programmes.
Meanwhile, General Overseer of the Church of God Mission, Archbishop Magaret Idahosa, yesterday disclosed that the church is rehabilitating hundreds of victims of human trafficking in Edo state through skill acquisition.
Idahosa said the gesture is to complement the federal and state governments’ efforts in addressing the issue of illegal migration
She stated this yesterday in Benin during the 2nd edition of the Benson Idahosa five-kilometre legacy road race organised by the church to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Benson Idahosa.