Empowering youths and restoring livelihoods to returnees in Edo state

Benin, December 2018 - ‘I have to thank the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation for the second opportunity given to me to get my life by on track. Since I came back from my ill-fated journey to Libya, it’s been difficult to get support’, said Innocent Edegbe, one of the returnees from Libya who tried to illegally migrate to Europe in search for a better life.


The quest for a better life and the attempt to escape poverty has influenced a major segment of Nigeria's population to seek economic liberation for themselves and their families outside the shores of the country. This elusive search for greener pasture abroad can effectively be tackled when viable alternatives are made available to engage and empower the youths.

British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation as part of efforts to support young people and the socio-economic development of Nigeria in general, partnered with the Edo State Government through the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking to support the livelihood restoration of the returnees through vocational skills acquisition and the donation of working tools to start their journey to financial freedom. 

In partnership with GeniusHub, 100 returnees were trained for a duration of 3 months in the following vocational skills: Tailoring, Welding, Beadmaking, and Makeup Artistry. Working tools were also purchased for each returnee based on their vocational skill of choice, with a common workplace rented and set up to practice their trade cost-free for a year.

During the hand-over ceremony Abimbola Okoya, the Executive Director of BATN Foundation said ‘the intervention implemented under the BATN Foundation Wealth is Here initiative was to encourage the youths to believe in Nigeria and leverage on the country’s resources to create wealth’. She enjoined the beneficiaries to make best use of opportunity they have now to regain the lost grounds. ‘I’ll like to thank Genius Hub our implementing partner for a job well done and the Edo State Government for the opportunity to make a difference in the State.’ She added.

Earlier, the Foundation team paid a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki at his office. He thanked the Foundation for the collaboration with the State. He enjoined the Foundation to continue the good work and seek for more collaboration in creating employment opportunities for the returnees in the State.