Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government is working to reach a common ground with the European Union (EU) on strategies to halt human trafficking, illegal migration and modern day slavery.
Obaseki disclosed this when he received a delegation from the EU Parliament at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State capital.
He explained the need for the EU to develop skills development programmes for victims of human trafficking and other youths in the state, noting, “This will enable the victims and others acquire skills, which will offer them hope. What we require is support, not necessarily cash, but skills development programmes so that our youths can gain practical knowledge and skills to lead better lives.”
Obaseki said the state government has several initiatives in place to tackle human trafficking and illegal migration but requires additional support to sustain the initiatives. “Just imagine, if we need to give technical or vocational training to between 3,000 and 5,000 young men and women, where are the teachers, where are the facilities? As much as we are not discouraged, we need support to provide these structures,” he averred.
According to him, “The state government is making efforts to provide reliable data and projects in the areas of agriculture, logistics and vocational training to create employment for unemployed youths.
“The Benin Technical College is a work in progress and we anticipate that it would be near completion before the end of the year.
“The workshops and laboratories have to be furnished; we have to recruit teachers, who have to be sent abroad for training. These are some of the areas the EU could provide technical support to assist the government and provide support for skills acquisition for young people.”
He also urged the EU to develop a mechanism to gather intelligence for tracking and prosecuting traffickers in Europe.
Dr Josef Weidenholzer, who led the delegation from the EU Parliament said, “The European Union Parliament will partner with the Edo State Government to come up with a common solution to curb illegal migration as the state and the EU share in the problem. This will strengthen the existing ties between EU and Nigeria to resolve illegal migration and human trafficking.”
Dr Weidenholzer commended the governor for his approach and the structures put in place to curb illegal migration and human trafficking, adding, “The EU is ready to assist the state government. Edo State can become a model for a new relationship between Europe and Africa.”
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