Benin City — Some Libyan returnees in Edo State yesterday disrupted an empowerment programme over alleged bias in the selection of beneficiaries by the state task force on Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration.
They stormed the venue of the event and destroyed some items already set up for the programme, which included part of the tent, chairs and six ceiling fans.
It took the intervention of men of the Nigeria Police Force drafted to the venue to bring the situation under control.
One of the returnees, Jude Ikuenobe explained that while some of them have been around for sometime, those who arrived in December have been enjoying the benefits of the task force.
"They have given some of those that just returned N1 million while those of us that came before them are yet to get anything from the government.
"We know that Governor Godwin Obaseki is trying but we are sorry to say that the task force he put in place are busy enjoying themselves with what is meant to be for us.
"To make things worse, they have resulted to treating us selectively, depending on who you know. I am aware that even those who have been trained on various aspects of agriculture are yet to get the grant and land as promised by the governor.
"With this in mind, how then do you explain the rational behind given some individuals who just arrived in December N1 million as empowerment. While we remain grateful to the governor, we however want the task force to be upright in their duty by doing the right thing," he stated.
But the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor, Solomon Okoduwa, condemned the returnees' action, saying there were better ways of channeling their grievances.
He said the allegation of bias in selecting beneficiaries was not true, adding that returnees to the state have all been factored into various empowerment programmes.
He stressed that the empowerment programme comes in stages and that those who do not benefit now would definitely benefit in the near future.
Secretary of the task force, Mrs. Abieyuwa Oyemwense, however, regretted that the master minder of the protest had been captured to begin a training programme under the scheme.