Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has disclosed that the State would ensure the repatriation of all its indigenes found to have been trafficked to Lebanon.
He vowed that the State would not stand by and watch its indigenes suffer dehumanisation under any guise.
Makinde, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, on Sunday, made the pledge while reacting to the report he received from his Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu, on the plight of the Oyo State indigenes trafficked to Lebanon.
The Governor noted, among other things, that the government would pay all the expenses of the repatriation of all Oyo State indigenes confirmed to have been trafficked to Lebanon, including the cost of a flight and Covid-19 test, asking that all necessary plans be put in place to bring them back.
Makinde stated; “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.”
The Governor had been informed that a number of Oyo State indigenes had been discovered to be illegal migrants who were trafficked into apparent modern-day slavery in Lebanon.
Speaking earlier, Sarumi-Aliyu said that while 40 of such victims had been screened and ready for the journey back home, more victims were still being discovered.
She revealed that her Office had been working closely with Lebanese authorities to identify Oyo State indigenes stranded in Lebanon, adding that the 40 victims already screened would be returning home this month.
She said; “We are expecting them back on a special flight on August 12. The government of Engineer Seyi Makinde has shown a renewed commitment to the welfare of our people in the diaspora and we are pleased with that. Since the government found out that we have some victims of human trafficking, who are stranded in Lebanon, we have stepped in.”
Sarumi-Aliyu disclosed that 11 victims, who were received on the 11th of July, were presently undergoing rehabilitation with the social workers in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, with the State giving the commitment that they would all be empowered.
She added that the same thing would happen to those being expected on the flight from Lebanon, once they have been cleared.