The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government is sincere about the fight against human trafficking and the challenges posed by the menace.
Obaseki said living in denial will not help the fight, which explains why his administration carried out extensive research to situate the root causes and tackle it head on relying on evidential data gathered from returnees.
The governor, who disclosed this at the 2018 National Alumni Lecture of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, in Ibadan, in a lecture entitled Technical Education and Skills Acquisition As Imperative for Youth Empowerment, said that data collected from Libya returnees and other victims of human trafficking have revealed the complexities of human trafficking particularly the scope, travel routes and communities most prone to the menace.
According to Obaseki, “As you might be aware, Edo State was almost becoming synonymous with human trafficking. Today, the story is different. We have admitted that it is our challenge. From our investigations we now have a better understanding of the root causes, the push and pull factors, etcetera. Our analysis and research from the data that we have gathered have assisted us tremendously in understanding the size, scope, demographics, travel routes and the communities most prone to trafficking. In other words, we now have a better understanding of how complex the problem is.”
Explaining that the state government has set up an elaborate plan to revamp Technical and Vocational Training and Education (TVET) in the state, as a means to make youths productive, he said, “We closed and redesigned the Government Science and Technical College in Benin, and we are currently rebuilding it to reflect contemporary requirements for a full-fledged technical college.
“We have equally redesigned the courses to make them demand-driven. The World Bank being impressed by these strides has contributed 1.2 Million Dollars (400 Million Naira) to this project and is set to invest an additional 2.7 Million Dollars (one billion Naira) in the coming year.”
He noted that a lot has to be done to change the perception of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Nigeria by currying public support, redesigning the institutions and putting them under quality management.
He said the focus on technical education was imperative because of the dearth of skilled man-power across the country to meet the demand for technical labour. “We may all be familiar with the fact that if you require the services of good tailors today you go the Republic of Benin or Ghana. When you want to build a gazebo in your compound, roof a house or lay tiles, the recommendations we receive are for skilled artisans from neighbouring countries.
“In similar vein, many of us have patronised hotels, restaurants, shops, carpenters, welders, and mechanics in contemporary Nigeria. In many cases, the service you receive must have brought you close to tears and at great cost. This is because, many of these artisans received peripheral apprenticeship with a so-called master and “graduate” with no proper certifications or experience. This is a further illustration of the predicament we have found ourselves in Nigeria today.”
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