Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor Obaseki explained that his visit was to pledge his loyalty to the President especially as it was the first visit since he emerged governor of Edo State.
The governor also stated that he discussed the issue of the repatriation of illegal migrants from Libya where Edo State has the highest number of returnees, adding that he has engaged the returnees in skill acquisitions and had also provided monthly stipends to them.
“I have not seen the president officially since I became the governor of Edo State so I came to pay him a proper visit and to pledge our support particularly since he got back home from his medical leave and the family accident, so I used the opportunity to facilitate with him and to wish him well.
“I discussed two critical issues that bother us in Edo. One, is the issue of human trafficking and irregular migration. As you know it is a problem with Edo which we have accepted and we have rolled out our strategies to deal with the problem.
“We want to work with the federal government and other agencies of government to end the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery. It is against the ethos of humanity for us to accept what is going on with our young people today.
“So, I came to see the president to explain what we are doing in Edo State and to solicit for more federal support for our actions.”
Commenting on the report that some returnees had expressed dissatisfaction with the stipend given them, he said, “That is part of the challenge. The issues are very complex. We have waves of returnees.
“The first set were those been brought back by International Organization for Migration (IOM). They did give stipends to those who were being repatriated but the last wave of returnees who were repatriated nothing was given to them and they were a bit agitated.
“But what we have done in Edo is that to help returnees settle and reintegrated back to their families, we give them stipend for three months. So what we have done this time around is that as soon as we received them and bring them to Benin City, we give them their first month stipend so that they can go back home and also have money to transport themselves to the skill acquisition centers which we have set up to train them.”
On how much his government had spent to rehabilitate failed federal roads in the state especially the bad portion of Benin Auch Road and whether the state had been refunded, he said he did not spend much on the roads and that the federal government has done a lot of works on the bad portion of the road.
He said, “We did not spend a lot of money but fortunately the federal government has responded to the issue of the Benin-Auchi road.
“As I speak now, the minister for works is inspecting work being done on the road and for those who have the benefit of using that road in the past three months, you will acknowledge that the federal government has done quite good remedial work and we hope that with the funds that have been released to pay the contractors that they will now begin proper work.”
Also speaking to journalists, former governor Oshiomhole said he was at the State House to identify with the President especially as the government was facing many challenges.
He said, “Well, you know it is a new year and I felt since I haven’t been here since 2017, so I came in to wish the President a happy new year and appreciate him for his leadership of the country because as an APC activist and loyalist, I’m a party man, to reassure him of my absolute and total support for his government and even for 2019.
“I think that in moments like this nobody should seat on the fence. Our country have challenges and there are huge temptations here and there and it is important he knows that he has men and women who even at this hour have huge confidence in his leadership ability.
“Everything taken to account I believe that every Nigerian who wants us to sustain some of the renewed vigor to deal with one of the most challenging problem that Nigeria has faced namely corruption and things like that, you cannot but appreciate the president and all that has been done under his leadership this past two years and some months.”
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