By David Adeoye
Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State says the state will ensure the repatriation of all its indigenes found to have been trafficked to Lebanon.
Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, in a statement in Ibadan said the state would not stand by and be watching its indigenes suffer dehumanization, under any guise, in any part of the world.
Makinde stated this while receiving a brief on the plight of the state indigenes trafficked to Lebanon from the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu.
“We will pay for the repatriation of all Oyo State indigenes who have been confirmed to have been trafficked to Lebanon. Please, put all the necessary plans in place to bring them back.
“I understand that some well-meaning individuals and groups have made some donations to some of the victims. Let them use such donations as pocket money.
“This state will pay for their flights and the fees requested to conduct COVID-19 tests on each of them,” he said.
Earlier, Sarumi-Aliyu informed the governor that a number of Oyo State indigenes had been discovered to be illegal migrants who were trafficked into modern-day slavery in Lebanon.
She said that while 40 of such victims had been screened and ready for the journey back home, more were still being discovered.
The governor’s aide added that her office had been working closely with the Lebanese authorities to identify those indigenes stranded in Lebanon, adding that the 40 victims already screened would be returning home on Aug.12.
“Since the government found out that we have some victims of human trafficking, who are stranded in Lebanon, we have stepped in.
“On July 11, we received 11 victims and they are going through rehabilitation with the social workers in the Ministry of Women Affairs.
“The state has given commitment that they will all be empowered. The same thing will happen to those we are expecting from the flight from Lebanon this August, once they have been cleared.” Sarumi-Aliyu stated.