By Nosa Obaze,
The Chairman, Edo Cultural Association in Italy, Mr. Monday Uwagboe, has debunked rumours making the rounds that the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki requested the Italian Government to deport all Nigerians of Edo extraction, resident in the country.
Uwagboe, who made the submission via a telephone call to a live programme on Independent Radio, a local radio station in Benin City, Edo State capital, on Monday, said that Governor Obaseki asked the ‘Italian government to absorb those already in their country and told those who wish to return home that structures are in place to cater for them.
He made the clarification on the heels of rife propaganda by groups suspected to be human trafficking cartels, who are on a campaign to rubbish the State Government’s efforts to curb the trend of human trafficking and reintegrate citizens who are returning from slave camps in Libya.
He said, “I was at the meeting where the governor spoke to members of the Italian parliament in Rome, and at no time during the speech, did he request for the deportation of indigenes of Edo State in Italy.”
“It is not possible for the Governor to have made such a request as he does not have the right to do so. Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who was with the governor and represented the President of the country at the event in Rome couldn’t have made such a request,” he added.
Uwagboe asked those spreading the rumour that the governor requested that the Italian Government deport Edo people to show audio or video recording of the governor making the request, adding, “The event was recorded by those who attended. The governor was taken aback when he saw the statistics of those coming to Italy because those from Benin featured prominently. So, he told those already in Italy to find something to do, while advising those who are willing to return home to do so, as there are programmes to take care of them.”
Recall that Governor Obaseki was in Rome, Italy, last month to attend an international conference on “Women empowerment and the fight against trafficking in persons. The Partnership between Nigeria and Italy.”
At the meeting, the Governor vehemently spoke against human trafficking and illegal migration, noting that the state government requires the support of the Italian Government, the European Union and other countries to curb the trend and sustain structures he was building to get youths in the state engaged in productive activities.