By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY—FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, lamented the rising number of Libyan returnees who are Edo State indigenes and called on the Federal Government and international organisations to assist the state government in fighting human trafficking.
Obasanjo, spoke during a visit to Governor Godwin Obaseki at Government House, Benin City, shortly after he visited the family of his late wife, Stella, at Iruekpen.
Obasanjo, who commended the developmental strides of the governor so far, said: “If the governor continues along this way, he will make a lot of impact. If we have 50 per cent of our governors performing this way, then Nigeria will be on the way to achieving what God has created it to be. I have heard a lot about what he has been doing and will soon come to see them for myself.”
He noted that Governor Obaseki’s efforts to reintegrate victims of human trafficking into the society was not only laudable but needs more backing from the Federal Government and other well-meaning international development agencies.
According to him, “the governor briefed me on his efforts to curb human trafficking. The unfortunate thing is that when I was dealing with this in the past, it was mainly young girls from this state that were trafficked, but now, I understand that young men are being trafficked too. This is rather unfortunate.
“The assessment of the governor is that 65 per cent of victims of human trafficking out of Nigeria are from this state and he is doing something about it. This is also very heartening.
“Whatever he is doing, he needs the support of the Federal Government to be able to stem the tide of this nefarious trade. In my time, it was really girls who were taken to Europe for prostitution, but now, I understand boys are also trafficked for human parts and slave labour. This must not be allowed to continue.”