By Noble Sunday

A number of Italian officials including the Mayor of Palermo, Leoloca Orlando have rated the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki high for his outstanding performance and determination in the fight against human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria.

This was disclosed at a meeting with the Network of Students who are fighting against human trafficking and irregular migration in Italy, attended by Nigeria delegation led by Solomon Okoduwa, immediate past Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obaseki on Anti Human Trafficking issues.

Orlando echoed at the meeting that Governor Obaseki has demonstrated true leadership in Africa.

“Mr. Obaseki is a leader that has character, he posses the following three characters; purpose, passion and principle,” the mayor adumbrated.

He continued, “My administration has been looking forward to seeing a governor like Obaseki who is dogged, determined and fearless collaborate with towards the fight against human trafficking and irregular migration. We are ready to work with him; together with him we will turn migrants to economic values.”

“We will continue to strengthen synergy and collaboration with Governor Obaseki and government of Edo State by training and supporting victims, advocacy, and building long and lasting structure in local communities in Edo State that will not make Europe attractive to those desperate to come except those that want to come for holidays.”

Besides, he said “we’re working with the ministry of interior to reduce the stringent requirements to acquire Italian visa. This is to encourage legal and dignified way of coming to Italy.”

He dismissed insinuations suggesting that Africans were discriminated. “We don’t hate Africans. We will continue to welcome them whenever they arrive Italy and support them, but the government doesn’t encourage the way they come through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean sea,” the Mayor posited.

“We are all one, there is no difference between us, because we are all humans and created by one God. What we don’t want in our country is human trafficking, sexual exploitation, crime and other social vices that could create public disturbances.”

Also speaking at the enlarged meeting included a senior lecturer, who led the students from various universities, Stephania Russello and Stella Battoli.

In their separate remarks, Russello said she watched and read in news papers the reports of Edo state government and his determination to reduce the numerous cases of trafficking that was going on in Edo state.

Battoli on the other hand praised the role of the Oba of Benin who snergised with the Governor by placing curse on traffickers and neutralizing the oaths of secrecy that was binding the victims.

According to him, “More still need to be done completely the scourge of the menace of human trafficking.

Earlier, Okoduwa Solomon appreciated the Mayor and the large audience for the wonderful reception of the Edo state delegation.

He also thanked the Italian authorities for recognizing the bold steps being taking by the administration of Governor Obaseki.

“The administration is determined to ensure that human trafficking and irregular migration is eradicated from Edo state.

Okoduwa, who is the President, Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Reintegration, said since the administration of Governor Obaseki and upon his appointment as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Anti Human Trafficking Issues, (former office) he was mandated to embark on several programmes which include the school to school and church to church advocacies as well as rural community based sensitization programmes saying “they were successful.

“Thankfully, you have also authenticated that you saw them on television and read on both local and international newspapers. The Governor believes intensive advocacy is key. So we go to schools, churches, mosque and market places to sensitize potential migrants and organized program to demonstrate our message. The former Governor’s aide stated.

Briefing reporters shortly after the event, Comrade Okoduwa Solomon said it was fruitful session with the Mayor of Palermo, Leoloca Orlando.

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