Chris Steven, Abuja
Some returnees from Libya have appealed to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to fulfill his pledge and release the grant of N100 million for 150 hectares of land to them.
They appealed to the governor to give the land he promised to the 150 trained returnees.
Some of the trained returnees made this appeal when they spoke with journalists in Benin City, the Capital of Edo State on Thursday.
The returnees, who are indigenes of the state, were trained on poultry, fishery, food processing and crop planting.
Obaseki had at the closing ceremony of the two weeks programme, announced the approval of N100 million seed grant as well as 150 hectares of land as seed grant for the trained returnees.
The governor said that the State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), would work with the returnees for the implementation of the project.
However, some of the returnees who pleaded anonymity said they were in the dark on the implementation of the programme almost two months after the approval was made.
“January is almost gone and we are totally at loss as to what is happening to the project that is meant to cushion the effect of what some of us who returned from Libya.
“It is our belief that when implemented, we will be gainfully and meaningfully engaged and thus stopping us from being involved in social vices.
“We also believe that with timely release or implementation of the programme, those who are yet to be trained will be encouraged as well as prevented from going back to Libya.
“Whether we like it or not, some of those that have returned are still planning to go back to that country because of the hardship in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government had pleaded for patience from the returnees as modalities for the implementation of the programme was being drawn out.
Solomon Okoduwa, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Anti-Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, made the appeal while reacting to the call by the returnees.
He said the governor remained committed to the course and had been working assiduously to ensure timely release of the fund.
“I can tell you that he (Obaseki) has not relented on ensuring better life for the returnees, especially to encourage the returned once to stay back home and discouraged those planning to leave.
“It is for this reason he graciously approved the training programme and the subsequent the approval of the seed grant and 150 hectares of land.
“It will also interest you to know that about 600 others have returned and they have started receiving a monthly stipend of N20, 000, which will last for three months pending their scheduled training programme.
“So, I am also appealing to them to be patient as they have not been forgotten by the governor who has been working very hard toward this course,” he said.
It would be recalled that the state government in November 2017 organised two weeks training programme on various aspects of agriculture to some of the returnees.