BENIN CITY- Civil Society Organizations, CSO’s and Journalists have commended Edo State Government for giving education the lion share in the 2021 budget to improve human capital in the state which will curb illegal migration.

The commendation was made during a 3-day workshop for CSO’s and Media practitioners on human capital development, anti-corruption, budget monitoring and tracking, organized by Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ held in Benin City.

According to the participants of the workshop from across Edo State, the state 2021 budget conformed to what CSO’s are asking for to improve human capital which will curb illegal migration.

They also commended ANEEJ for organizing the workshop, noting that there is the need for budgetary allocations to get to their destinations and put to use for what it is meant for.

In the words of Rev Sister Florence and Dr Jude Obasanmi, “ it is not about people not travelling but about the government increasing funding on human capital and the CSO’s should be prepared to engage the government in a constructive manner.”

It was also agreed that there should be more advocacy for human development, monitoring of the budget to ensure that the people benefit.

“We want government to increase investments in the health sector, Agriculture, social development, sports and wealth creation and to also ensure that releases are actually spent,” they noted.

Earlier, the Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor in his welcome address disclosed that the workshop is part of the implementation under ANEEJ’s “Tackling human trafficking through advocacy to increase investment on human capital development and civic engagement in Edo State.

According to Rev Ugolor who was represented by Mr Leo Atakpu, Deputy Director of ANEEJ, the goal of the project is to improve the knowledge of citizens, media and policy makers around the issues of good governance and open Budgetary processes that support civic engagement.

“This is also in furtherance of the Open Government partnership of both the Federal Government of Nigeria, a global initiative that Edo State Government has signed onto. One of the projects objectives is to provide civil society organizations the knowledge to advocate for change in current approaches in combating irregular migration vide advocacy for human development, budget monitoring/public spending , anti-corruption and good governance policies and programmes.”

He said a major activity of this project is a three day workshop for CSO’s and media practitioners on human capital development, anti-corruption, budget monitoring and tracking which will take an overview of the Edo Sate government budgets and provisions for human capital development over the past three years and review the structure of existing human capital development interventions in Edo State.

While appreciating the Swiss Embassy for the funds given to ANEEJ which has made it possible to convene the workshop, Rev Ugolor said the participants will agree on key government interventions in 2019/2020 budget of Edo State for CSO’s monitoring and advocate increase in public spending on human capital development programmes.

“We in ANEEJ believe in holding the government accountable to this commitment which is the responsibility of Civil Society and media actors in the state. ANEEJ will present findings and recommendations of the monitoring exercise to the public and relevant stakeholders to drive investment in human capital development projets in the state and the ultimate goal is to advance interventions of government in subsequent budgets as a way to curb illegal migration”, he added.