The World Health Organization (WHO) has established a correlation between mental health problems and the negative consequences associated with illegal migration and human trafficking. Refugees and asylum seekers are individuals who have fled their country of origin due to persecution, war, or violence and are seeking protection and assistance in another country. Refugees and asylum seekers exhibit elevated levels of post-traumatic stress disorder. There exists a positive correlation between unfavourable socioeconomic circumstances and elevated occurrences of depression in the five-year period following resettlement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that individuals classified as refugees, asylum seekers, and irregular migrants face obstacles when attempting to obtain mental health services. Empirical data suggests that the issue of unlawful migration and trafficking of individuals has been a persistent challenge for the inhabitants of Edo State, Nigeria, over an extended period.
The Umagba n’Edo ne Prayer Ministry International and the Evangelical Believers Outreach Ministries International have collaborated with Edo State residents in Italy to conduct an outreach program on the topic of “Mental Health and Human Trafficking: The Way Forward for Edo State”. On May 13th, 2023, an event was hosted in Rome, the capital city of Italy.
A diverse group of people from Edo State who reside in Rome and the surrounding areas attended the event. The team known as Umagba n’Edo ne, under the leadership of its founder and visionary, Evangelist Gladys Osamuyime Ogbeide, provided insights and recommendations to address the issue in Edo State.
The team was composed of various experts in the field, Evangelist Ogbeide who referred to Dr Loretta Oduware Ogboro-Okor, as the keynote speaker at the event, is a well-known individual from Edo State with a global presence.
Her lineage spans four local government areas of the state, namely Esan Central (Ekekhen), Esan South-East (Ubiaja), Uhunmwode (Igue Iyase), and Oredo (Ogbe). As a physician trained in the United Kingdom, Dr Ogboro-Okor is a representative of Edo State in various capacities.
Dr Ogboro-Okor possesses personal experience with the difficulties that can lead individuals into the treacherous realm of illegal migration, having been personally exposed to the dangers of nearly being recruited into human trafficking following the passing of her father, who served as the primary financial provider for her family at the time. Moreover, the individual in question holds the position of consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and is also a doctoral researcher in law and criminology, with a particular focus on human trafficking and contemporary slavery, at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University. Given her expertise in these areas, it is evident why she was selected to deliver the keynote address at the aforementioned event in Rome. During the event,
Dr Loretta Oduware Ogboro-Okor provided a comprehensive analysis of the burden at hand and presented potential solutions for moving forward.
The speaker emphasized the significant role that Italy holds in the narrative of Edo State, both positively and negatively. The author referenced various sources, including the International Organization for Migration, Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics, and the Edo State archives, to support the claim that the prevalence of human trafficking and illegal migration in the state is significant. The author emphasized that the impact of these issues on the people of Edo State should not be underestimated. The speaker proceeded to emphasize the correlation between the severity of stressors associated with illegal migration and trafficking and the potential onset of mental health disorders. As per the speaker’s assertion, individuals tend to endure their predicaments in silence and refrain from seeking assistance until it is too late, primarily due to the lack of discourse surrounding such concerns within the socio-cultural context. She suggested various approaches, including individual self-help, community initiatives, and cross-border actions by non-governmental and governmental organizations. It is imperative to initiate an awareness campaign aimed at preventing the inception of human trafficking within the state while simultaneously promoting employment opportunities and altering the societal perception of the desirability of illicit wealth.
A crucial aspect is the recognition of indicators of mental health disorders and the means by which individuals can obtain assistance. It is imperative for leaders within the Italian communities of Edo State to assume responsibility for providing mentorship, facilitating community listening groups, and directing individuals towards appropriate channels for accessing support and care. Hence, a strong partnership with the Italian government is imperative to attaining these objectives.
In their response, Mr Samuel Omokaro Izekor, President of the Edo State Cultural Association Rome Lazio, Italy, and Engr. George Omo Iduhon (CFRN), Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe (NIDOE) Italy Chapter, acknowledged their role as organizers of the program and expressed their commitment to enhancing collaboration among stakeholders.
Their objective is to alleviate the mental health challenges faced by the Edo State populace residing in Italian communities. The attendees were provided with reassurance that the communication resulting from this occasion will be submitted to the Italian and Nigerian Ambassadors, as well as the Edo State Government.
The Umagba n’Edo ne Ministries made an appeal for other Edo State groups to emulate their benevolent actions and establish a consistent pattern of conducting such outreach programs. According to Pastor Eddision Eraghahiewu, who serves as the general coordinator of the Umagba n’Edo Group, it is believed that individuals of both genders are the only ones capable of altering the course of events as per divine intervention. It is not within the realm of possibility for him to descend from the celestial realm to undertake tasks that are rightfully our responsibility.
The participants of these gatherings quantified the usefulness of the session and expressed their desire for it to be conducted in various regions of Italy. The event was graced by the presence of several dignitaries, including Hon. Walter Aiwekhoe, Osamudiamen Omokaro, who serves as the Vice President of Unity Forum Rome Lazio, Prince Chima Ibezim, who holds the position of President of Nigerian Community Rome, Lazio, Elder Victor Aluge, who is an Edo State Elder in Italy, Elder Moses Ozuwa, also an Edo State Elder in Italy, and Fidel Wilson O’Neil, who serves as the Secretary of Nigerian Community.
The individual in question holds the position of IT Officer for the NIDOE Continental organization located in Rome, Lazio. The aforementioned individuals, namely Olakayode Garba, who holds the position of Secretary to the Edo State Cultural Association in Rome, Lazio; Elder Austin Adodo, who serves as the President of the Ovia Community in Rome, Lazio; and Osayonwanobo, have been mentioned. The individuals in question include Austin Ehanire, who serves as the Welfare Officer of NIDOE’s Italy Chapter; Elder Godfrey Omonlumhen, who previously held the position of President at Esan Akugbe Community in Rome, Lazio; Kingsley Eselebor, a former President of the same community; and Bishop Andrew Osa Ighile, who holds the title of Bishop at Unlimited Church International Network.
The individuals in question are Rome Lazio, Pastor Victor Ighinua, a member of the clergy, and Bright Igbinake, who holds the position of social secretary within the Edo State Cultural Association. The individuals mentioned in the text include George Omogiade Edeoghon, an Edo State Elder from Rome, Lazio; Jubrila Bello-Osagie, an Edo State Elder residing in Italy; and Joshua Ekele, who serves as the Assistant Welfare Officer for the Edo State Cultural Association in Rome, Lazio. Additionally, there are other individuals who share a progressive mindset and hail from Edo State. The Wise Men Group of Roma, under the leadership of their esteemed patron, Mr Kelly Osamede Uwhumarongie, and numerous other individuals, provided assistance in facilitating the coordination of this event.