The Head of IOM, Benin office, Wintana Tarekegn, made this known during the first anniversary celebration of the COMPASS project held on Friday in Benin.
Tarekegn said that COMPASS project was launched in 2021 as a global initiative in partnership with 12 countries, designed to protect migrants, combat human trafficking and promote sustainable reintegration.
She said that the project received funding by the government of Netherlands through the Foreign Affairs Ministry
Tarekegn said the 261 returnees, who are from Edo and Delta, were given immediate assistance upon their return to their states.
She disclosed that 82 out of the number had also received social economic reintegration support.
The IOM official added that the capacity building component of the COMPASS project had also trained about of 109 personnel of law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations, faith base organisations and other partners.
“As we know, over 90 per cent of returned migrants are exposed to different types of exploitations.
“So, a one stop shop legal support approach was launched in Edo and Delta to provide free legal service and protection for victim of human trafficking.
“We are working with Nigeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Morocco among others countries.
“This project started last year and it is looking at a holistic societal approach in addressing issues of human trafficking and irregular migration.
“The project is not looking at individual beneficiaries alone but also the community, society and family members.
“The project objectives is to mobilise families, peers and communities to encourage informed and safe migration decisions, protect migrants, and help those returning home reintegrate successfully,” she said
Tarekegn thanked the government of Netherlands for the support so far.
“Our targets locations in Nigeria are Edo, Delta, Lagos, Abuja, Kano and other states depending on the priority areas identified by the federal and state governments,” she said, adding that the project had also assisted in the establishment of shelter managed by NAPTIP in Abuja.
Highpoint of the event was the display of art works painted by some of the returnees.