The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Nigeria in collaboration with Edo State government is to site 20 community based reintegration projects for over 3, 000 returning migrants in the state with support from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
Meanwhile, officials of IOM Nigeria and government delegation have perfected arrangement to site Pineapple Juice factories at Iguobazuwa, Ovia South West local government area headquarters and Ekpoma, the Esan West LGA headquarters.
The decision to site the projects was reached by the stakeholders after brainstorming sessions with the locals as well as the returnees from the areas.
According to the leader of the IOM team to the state, migration protection specialist, John McGeoghan, the activities will kickoff shortly after the inauguration of the steering committees from the two local government areas.
McGeoghan, who commended Edo State government for its reintegration programmes said additional 600 members of local communities will benefit from the projects from the first two pilot projects.
He said the objectives of the programme are to provide direct assistance to migrants and to support the sustainable and effective socioeconomic reintegration of migrants in their local communities.
“The community-based reintegration activities will reinforce existing community development initiatives by placing migrants and potential migrants at the centre of the project, and by providing returning migrants, assisted by IOM Nigeria, with the possibility of engaging in the development of their communities.”
The senior special assistant on Anti Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration Issues to governor Godwin Obaseki, Comrade Solomon Okoduwa, had earlier told the people that the community oriented projects will be complementing the state government various projects.
He noted that, “Out of the 6, 000 migrants assisted so far to return to the country by IOM, over three thousand are from Edo State. It’s also worthy of note that it is only this state governor that has initiated programmes for the returnees out of the 36 states. However, the federal government has lauded the efforts so far. Despite the mass deportation from Libya, the governor is determined to take them off the streets.
He urged the returnees to fully embrace the various returning migrants’ projects, saying “the projects will see the light of the day and non of you will be sidelined. I am one you, hold me responsible if any the projects fails,” Okoduwa assured.
At the Palace of Onojie of Ekpoma, HRH, Zaiki Anthony Ehizojie Abumere, who received the team expressed joy for the proposed project in the area.
He said, “The gesture of government and the IOM-EU supported projects will lift my people from the shackles of poverty.”