Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, needs the far-reaching support of the Federal Government and well-meaning international organisations to stem the tide of human trafficking.
Obasanjo, who said this during a courtesy visit to Governor Obaseki at the Government House, Benin City, the Edo State capital, stressed that the Edo State Government’s response to the worrying revelations of the sufferings of Nigerian migrants in Libya, especially youths from the state, was commendable.
He said that the governor has grown an impressive profile since coming into office, which has earned him accolades within and outside the country.
The former President had earlier visited Iruekpen, Edo State, to check on the family of his late wife, Stella Obasanjo.
Stressing that the governor’s strides are worthy of emulation by other governors across the country, he said, “If the governor continues along this way, he would 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.”
Obasanjo added that the state governor has been very proactive in tackling the challenge, noting, “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. The governor is going places and is doing a lot.
“He admits there is a problem. When you have a problem, the first thing is to know that the problem is there and is yours and that you have a solution. He admits that most of these people are from Edo State.
“There is nothing bad in admitting that the problem is yours and spearheading the solution. That is what he is doing. But he cannot do it alone. He needs the backing and support of the Federal Government and of well-meaning agencies, organisations and institutions from outside the country,” he added.
In his response, Governor Obaseki thanked Obasanjo for the visit, noting that it presented an opportunity to share with the former president, efforts being made by the state government to deliver socio-economic development to the people.