Illegal migration now history in Edo – Shaibu IOM raises awareness through football tournament

The Edo State government has said that illegal migration and human trafficking are now a thing of the past because the long-term initiatives put in place to address the menace has taken the state away from the leading spot it was years ago.

Philip Shaibu, deputy governor of Edo State, stated this at the weekend during the International Organization for Migration (IOM)-Laliga-Nigerian Women Football League (NWFL) football tournament in Benin City.

The deputy governor attributed some of the gains to include strengthening the girl-child education, domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) and collaborative efforts with many organisations, including IOM, to sensitise members of the public.

Shaibu, while commending the organisation and the first lady of Edo State, Betsy Obaseki, for championing the fight against illegal migration, said the sport event came at the right time when the state government is redefining sports management.

“We are bringing the potential of the girl-child and for them to have that confidence to know that God created them and planted something in them. Every woman has a natural gift as a mother and in management affairs.

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“As far as sports is concerned, it is awake today. Edo State has been on recess for decades in terms of sport. But, today, Edo is back and its heart is beating, and because of that, Nigeria is also back as far as Edo is concerned,” Shaibu said.

Besty Obaseki, Wife of Edo State governor, in her remarks, promised that the initiatives to raise awareness against the scourge of illegal migration would be sustained beyond the present administration.

Earlier, Cyprine Cheptepkeny, IOM Awareness Raising Officer, said the essence of the football tournament was to enlighten potential migrants on the dangers of illegal migration as well as use sports as a unifier to address the stigma most returnees face.

Cheptepkeny said the organisation has established several initiatives such as community reintegration programs to empower returnees and reunite them with their families.

“The tournament aims at promoting social cohesion among returnees and community members and address vices such as stigma that most of them face upon their return.

“The tournament will involve Nigerian Women Football League (NWFL) players that will play alongside female returnees,” she said.

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