BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has reassured that his administration will sustain reforms and policies that would guarantee more economic opportunities and an enabling environment for youths in the state to realize their potentials in order to end the scourge of illegal migration.

Obaseki gave the assurance in commemoration of the International Migrants Day, marked every December 18, by the United Nations and its sister agencies.

According to the governor, “The International Migrants Day is a great opportunity for us to reaffirm our administration’s commitment to ending the menace of illegal migration in Edo State.

“As a government, we have recorded huge success in reducing the trend by providing our people with highly sought-after skills and creating opportunities for jobs, emphasising training, especially technical training and improving their chances of employment.

“We are confident that if you have a skill or trade that is highly sought after in any part of the world by international companies, you can make decent wages working within the state and migrating legally to work.

“This is what we have done with the Edo Tech Park project, where we have entered into a robust partnership to train 15,000 youths to become software engineers who will work remotely for global clients and earn in foreign currencies. We are doing the same with agriculture and technical education, which is demonstrated by our programmes in these areas.

“As a government, we will continue to pursue reforms and policies that would build the capacity of our youths to be globally employable, guarantee more economic opportunities and create an enabling environment where youths in the state can realize their fullest potentials.”

Noting that there was a need for world leaders to respect laws and conventions that protect the rights of migrants, the governor commended countries across the world that have shown uncommon kindness in accommodating those fleeing from conflict and creating the space for people from other countries to live and ply their trade in their countries.

Speaking on efforts to protect victims of illegal migration and human trafficking, Obaseki noted: “Our social welfare programme in the first term covered returnees mostly youths, who are victims of human trafficking and irregular migration. Working closely with our international partners, we completed a shelter for the returnees in Benin City, to provide for rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of human trafficking.

“The state government through the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT), has facilitated the return of over 5689 persons, who are undergoing different programmes to reintegrate them back into society,” he added.

According to the United Nations, “This International Migrants Day provides an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its shared commitment to protecting the inalienable rights of nearly 300 million migrants worldwide, who are significantly threatened by the health crisis.”