Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has said the state government plans to go after assets and properties of persons behind the trafficking of indigenes of the state so as to serve as a deterrent to others who are still scouting for vulnerable Nigerians to traffic.
The governor, who stated this at the weekend in Benin City, said proceeds from such properties would be used in the rehabilitation and reintegration of returnees.
“This can serve as a deterrent and punishment to the perpetrators, ensuring that they lose their property and assets with which we will now use in supporting the rehabilitation of victims.
“We have been able to intensify investigation and prosecution. But unfortunately, we have not been able to get any conviction. Not because the prosecutors are not doing their utmost best, but because of the very nature of our legal system,” he said.
Obaseki, therefore, said the state government is working assiduously with the judiciary and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), to ensure conviction of traffickers.
“We will work with the judiciary to try and reduce the long adjournments and also the way they treat evidence from victims. Many of these victims are afraid of revealing information on their traffickers because of threats, but we are taking measures to provide safe houses and cover for them until we are able to get prosecutions,” the governor added.
He revealed that in the last four years, under his watch, the number of persons trafficked from the state had reduced with the rehabilitation and reintegration of over 6,500 returnees.