BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved verification exercise and payment of three months stipends for new batch of Libya returnees of Edo State origin.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Anti-Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, Comrade Solomon Okoduwa, disclosed this during the verification exercise, noting, “The approval for the verification exercise and payment for the new batch of returnees are part of the promises made by the governor to assist victims of human trafficking and illegal migration and reintegrate them into society.”
Okoduwa said since the first two batches of returnees were received by the state government between 7th and 15th November 2017, the state has recorded 26 other batches totalling 3,165 returnees.
“The verification exercise for the new batch of returnees will be processed in the next 12 days, after which payment of their stipends will commence. Each returnee will be paid a stipend of N20,00 per month for three months. Among them, pregnant women will be entitled to N25,000 each, while those with babies will get N30,000 each,” he said.
Okoduwa assured the returnees that they will get their stipends, urging them to follow the required procedures to get verified.
Assistant Secretary, Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, Lilian Garuba, said “The returnees who had been verified have been paid. The verification is a precondition for getting the stipends, so we encourage them to come forward for the exercise.
She added, “Those who are yet to be verified should be patient. We assure that the taskforce is working to ensure that the directive of the governor is fully carried out. The exercise is to ensure that we monitor the progress of reintegration and follow up where necessary.”
One of the returnees, Idemudia Grace confirmed that she has gotten her pay for a month, adding, “I am here for another round of verification to receive the second payment.”
Oghogho Moses, who turned up for the exercise, commended the governor for keeping to his promise to pay returnees three months stipends, noting, “Obaseki has done well for the returnees, he is the first if not the only governor in the country to make provision for stipends to returnees and other packages to assist the returnees’ reintegration into the society.”