BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved 150 hectares of land and N100million seed capital for the 150 Libyan returnees and victims of human trafficking, who completed a skills acquisition training at the Edo Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) office in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Obaseki, who made the announcement on Friday, during the graduation ceremony of the returnees, directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to immediately liaise with the relevant authorities towards securing the land for the returnees to commence agribusinesses.
According to the Governor, the returnees will be organised into cooperatives under the supervision of the Benin Owena River Basin Authority and the Edo Agricultural Development Programme (ADP).
Speaking on the need for a coordinated and multilateral partnership to end the spate of modern day slavery, a key part of which is the trafficking in persons, he said the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, marked every 2 December, by the United Nations, should be seen as a day for a deep reflection on how to bring the illicit trade to an end.
He commended the returnees, 51 of whom were trained on crop production, 15 on Agro-processing, 68 on livestock farming and 52 on Fish farming, for availing themselves of the training opportunity and promised to make them ambassadors in the state-wide campaign against human trafficking and illegal migration.
He explained that the returnees are victims of a country that has failed them, adding that the state government has a duty to make them realise their God-given potential.
Earlier, the Programme Manager of ADP, Mr Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, commended the state government for initiating the training and expressed optimism that the trainees would put to use the skills they acquired.
On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Obaseki said that it was regrettable the menace of slavery still persists after decades of efforts to abolish the menace, noting, “We ordinarily shouldn’t be talking about the menace of slavery given the experience we have had.
“But it is a reality today and we have no choice but to tackle it. However, it is pertinent to point out the fact that modern day slavery, in its various forms, such as forced labour, debt bondage and human trafficking, has no place among us.
“To effectively abolish slave trade as we have it today, it takes a coordinated, deep reaching, international coalition that will take into cognisance the various forms of modern day slavery and compel perpetrators to back down.”
Noting that partnerships are key to ending the prevalence of slavery, he said, “given the economic implications of modern day slavery, there is need for tact, willpower as well as substantive financial commitment to make appreciable progress in efforts to tackle slavery.”
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is marked every December 2, which is the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), “more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern day slavery. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.
“In addition, more than 150 million children are subjected to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.”
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN