The Osun State Government on Wednesday in Osogbo received 15 female indigenes between ages 22 and 26 who were trafficked to Lebanon.
Olubukola Olaboopo, Commissioner For Women, Children and Social Affairs, and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Diaspora Matters, Titi Fadahunsi-Ajayi, received the returnees on behalf of the state government.
Olaboopo in her remarks said government was happy to receive the girls alive from Lebanon.
The commissioner said the state government had put necessary measures in place for their reintegration into the society.
She said: “I welcome our ladies back to the state of Omoluabi.
“You are safe in the state and the government will do all that it can to ensure that you have a good life going forward.
“There is no harm in trying.
“The fact that you went abroad to hustle does not mean that you should be stigmatised.
“We as government are very proud of you for taking a bold step and trying something new.
“You have had the experience first hand, and you are going to be the state’s ambassadors on issues of trafficking.
“The state government expects you to put in diligence in serving your motherland.
“You have seen the other side of life and, of course, you can see that there is no greener pasture anywhere, but home.
“We want to know your qualifications to know how the government can assist you.
“Besides, we have organised an Empowerment Programme for you, and your resource persons are on ground to take you through the training.”
Also speaking at the reception, Fadahunsi-Ajayi said the government would do everything within its powers to make life meaningful for the girls.
She commended Governor Gboyega Oyetola for promptly acting on the distress calls of the girls in Lebanon that they desired to return home.
She said: “Sometime in August, a letter came in from the Nigerian In Diaspora Commission to the governor asking for help in evacuating some of our indigenes stranded in Lebanon.
“It was a distress call from these ladies, who were going through hell in Lebanon and had to cry out.
“They had terrible experiences, which made some of them decide to run away from their masters.
“Immediately the governor got the letter, he released funds that same day.
“He was so magnanimous.
“He felt the pains of a father and requested that they be brought back.
“The process was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we thank God, 15 of them are back and the others will join us later in the day.
“The governor did not only release funds for their tickets, he also approved a token for each of the girls to empower them.”
One of the returnees, Amina Kajobola, thanked the state government and Oyetola for rescuing them from Lebanon.
Kajobola, who described her experience and that of other girls in Lebanon as horrible, said the quick response of the state government to their distress calls saved their lives.