By JAMES EZEMA
Over 40 Imo Diaspora returnees from South Africa, who who were victims of xenophobic attack in the African country, were in September last year evacuated back to Nigeria alongside other Nigerian nationals who had suffered same fate, have gotten the attention of the Office of the Special Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodinma on Diaspora matters after they were abandoned by the previous administration in the state.
The evacuees, under an arrangement by the Federal Government, were to be rehabilitated by their home states but, unfortunately, this never quite happened Imo State.
According to the returnees who spoke on their previous experience, “we were passed on from one office to the other yet nothing happened. There were lots of challenges getting through to anyone…”
However, the returnees represented by their executive body, recently visited the office of the Governor on Diaspora Affairs, to share their frustration, disappointments, and despondency with the Special Adviser on Diaspora, Hon. Cllr. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert.
They explained that they were sceptical about seeking further support from government since all their previous efforts yielded no results during the llife of the past administration.
Abuja Business Reports Correspondent confirmed that, Hon. Cllr. Osakwe-Hibbert immediately assured the embattled returnees of the Governor Uzodinma’s utmost commitment to all Imo State indigenes, both those at home and in the Diaspora.
Apologising to the victims of the xenophobic attacks, Hon. Osakwe-Hibbert said, “I am sorry to hear of your experience in your host country and I’m equally sorry to hear of the further frustrations you had to face on reaching Imo State last September.
“I can assure you that my Office will see to what needs to be done and I’ll relay your concerns to my Boss, Senator Hope Uzodinma”, whom she described as very compassionate.
Our Correspondent gathered that following the visit, within a couple of days, the state government made arrangements for the returnees to be fast tracked for jobs to reduce their sufferings.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Diaspora, had immediately provided the South African Returnees an office space, office equipments and delegated one of her highly trained staff to returnees for ease of compilation of their names and documentations in order to to beat the tight deadline for their job application processes.
The SA Diaspora, Hon. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert who had pledged Governor Hope Uzodinma’s compassionate support to the victims also disclosed that Rt. Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) was also on hand to guide the Imo Diaspora Office on a few technical issues to ease their interventions.
There is high hope that the Governor Uzodinma administration will rehabilitate the xenophobic attack victims and properly reintegrate them into the society.