The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has organised a one-day sensitisation and empowerment programme against human trafficking and illegal migration with the theme: “Unlock Your Potential”. 

The programme, held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Ikeja, was aimed at providing empowerment and entrepreneurship opportunities for returnees, primarily through small and medium-sized enterprises.  

 Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, Commissioner for WAPA, stated that the programme was organised with a view to reorienting the survivor’s outlook and building healthy self-esteem. 

The Commissioner, who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Women Affairs, Mrs. Funmi Adegoke said, “The purpose of this programme is to reiterate the commitment of the State Government to its stance against all forms of idleness and mediocrity, particularly amongst vulnerable residents of Lagos State”. 

She urged women and youths to be vigilant and have the mindset of contentment to ward off perpetrators who may try to lure their victims through unrealistic promises. 

Dada further sought the support of the survivors in eradicating the menace and charged them to be advocates of change and spread the awareness message across their various communities. 

While reiterating the need for self-development, she implored participants to implement the entrepreneurial skills acquired and practice proper bookkeeping to access loans through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). 

Dada encouraged the unemployed and underemployed participants to enrol into any of the tuition-free Skills Acquisition Centres across the five divisions of the state, in order to be equipped with vocational skills that will make them contributors to the economic growth of Lagos State. 

Mr. Alexander Oturu, Assistant Southwest Zonal Head, Migration Unit, National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), applauded WAPA for its laudable commitment to empowering and easing the plights of returnees and migrants. 

“The partnership between WAPA and NCFRMI is proof that Lagos State Government is intent on creating a safe space for residents and catering to their welfare through various initiatives and programmes”, Oturu said.  

The Zonal head further explained that the NCFRMI is dedicated to the recovery journey of survivors in order to properly re-integrate them into society and encouraged the returnees to adopt a positive paradigm shift and be optimistic, regardless of their current dispensation. 

Also speaking at the event, Mr. David Oyebolu, Consultant and Public Speaker, urged the returnees to adopt a growth mindset, instead of a closed attitude to excel in their chosen fields.  

“A positive mindset is vital to your growth; therefore, I urge you to open your mind to recognise and utilise positive opportunities that will aid you in your personal development”, he said.