Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday described human trafficking as the greatest security challenge facing his administration and the state, promising to deal with it.
He also vowed to deploy state’s resources to break the hold of human trafficking cartel on Edo youths and end the illicit trade.
The governor spoke when he received a delegation of the management and members of Edo Forum of Patriots (EFP) led by its Chairman, Aiyamenkhue Edokpolor, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin.
Obaseki said: “Human trafficking has become a security threat in the state as over 10,000 young men and women were trafficked in a space of 12 months and more than 30 per cent of them lost their lives in the process.”
The governor told his guests that ‘human trafficking is one disaster that has befallen us as a people since the European invasion of 1897,’ noting that ‘Even before the invasion, Edo people were never sold into slavery because we had a very powerful army.’
According to him; “For us to start selling ourselves into slavery, means something fundamental has happened and much has gone wrong.”
“We cannot fold our hands, keeping mute as if nothing is happening, it’s even scarier. As a government we took actions and some persons on social media are condemning our actions, I think those people should be arrested for aiding the crime,” he stated.
Governor Obaseki further said that the tales told by returnees were disheartening as “one cannot but weep for their harrowing experiences, who are deceived and moved from Nigeria by a cartel and syndicate who trade these people like common commodities.”
He assured members of the forum that his administration will not relent in the fight and would mobilise the state’s resources to make sure the scourge was brought under control.
Earlier, Chairman of the forum, Edokpolo, had said that since the governor assumed office, he had demonstrated extraordinary commitment towards the progress and well-being of Edo people and the state at large.
“We have set up a security and economic summit central planning committee to consult and seek collaboration with the Edo State government and relevant agencies of the Federal Government for realistic solutions to our socio-economic challenges,” Edokpolor said.