By Michael Odiah
The Delta State Government on Tuesday, January 9, 2017 received 77 illegal migrant of the state origin who are part of the over 5000 Nigerians rescued from migrant camps and detention centers in Libya.
Welcoming the deportees, the State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by the Commissioner for Bureau for Special Duties, Barr. Ernest Ogwezzy said that, the State is indeed grateful to God for saving their lives amidst the unspeakable experiences they witnessed.
He implored them to forget the awful experiences, pick a new phase of life and look forward to a better tomorrow, taking cognizance of a popular phrase; ‘Delta nor they carry last’, adding that haven learnt some lessons in Libya, they should go back to their communities and become ambassadors who will advise youths on the deadly disadvantages of embarking on such journey.
The Governor further said that the State Government is aware of their unfortunate ordeal, but due to the level of urgency of the situation and the bureaucracy associated with budgeting and funding, the government may not be able to do more than welcome them back to the state for now, but will reach out to them as soon as proper plans are put in place for them following the proper documentation of their details.
Ogwezzy advised them to utilize the YAGEP and STEP programmes as powered by the Ministry for Job creation specially initiated by the Okowa administration to fast track their integration back into the society.
Also speaking at the reception, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Kingsley Emu said that they are at the stage were the returnees need to be profiled, to help know their interests, identify their health status before channeling them to skills acquisition, as it is upon profiling that they get to know want they were doing before and what they prefer to do now which is best for them.
Emu also said that their return was negotiated and ransom paid. Stressing that he is very sure that they are very hardworking people, but only left because they assumed that the other side is greener, while foreigners come to Nigeria with a small bag pack but leave here millionaires and billionaires.
The Economic Commissioner added that they should not give up on their willingness to succeed but rather kill the desperation in them and settle back in the state taking cognizance of the fact that he is aware that they have lost virtually all they had but their hope which they must keep alive, and prioritize being law abiding ambassadors of peace and change, having seen an unspeakable version of life, plus be ready to learn as the government alone cannot bear all of their burden, but will certainly play its part to cushion up the aftermath of their ordeal.
In her speech, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Okowa on International Affairs, Dr. Genevieve Mordi informed that the 77 returnees are part of the first set of rescued migrants, that the Federal Government is set to bring back about 5035 Nigerians detained in various centers across Libya within the space of three weeks.
Mordi noted that the State Government has put modalities in place in conjunction with NEMA to ensure that these people are safely returned back to Nigeria.