Insecurity and human trafficking: We are tackling them with quality education- Obaseki
ABIODUN JIMOH, BENIN CITY
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government is tackling insecurity and human trafficking in the state by prioritising and investing in quality education and ensuring good governance to engender peace and development.
The governor said this on Tuesday in his lecture at the Department of State Services’ Institute of Security Studies, in Bwari, Abuja, themed: “Transhumance and International Migration: Challenges of Good Governance, Peace and Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa,” organised for participants in Executive Intelligence Management (EIM) Course 12, drawn from the State Security Services (SSS) and other sister security agencies from Nigeria and other West African countries.
He said the training will enable them acquire the necessary skills that prepare them for the ever-changing security space and the enormous responsibilities that go with it, noting that the discourse will help in enriching participants’ thought and decision-making processes in tackling security challenges that Nigeria, the Lake Chad Basin and Sub-Saharan Africa face.
Noting that there was an imperative to prioritise good governance to engender development, Obaseki said, “Any nation-state in Sub-Saharan Africa including our great country Nigeria that is committed to having and maintaining sustainable peace and achieving a developmental pedestal, such a state needs to put in place a system of good governance. By good governance I mean a system of values, policies,and institutions by which a society manages its economic, political and social affairs through interactions within and among states, civil society, and private sector.”
On the state government’s efforts at tackling insecurity and human trafficking, he said, “We have opened the flood gates of our three (3) Technical Colleges in the three senatorial districts; Government Science and Technical College (formerly Benin Technical College), Benin City (Edo South), Government Science and Technical College, Egua-Eholor (Edo Central) and Government Science and Technical College, Igarra (Edo North) to victims of human trafficking and international migration (Returnees) from Edo State who are interested in the acquisition of technology-based knowledge that will empower them and help build a technology-based Edo of our dream.
“Edo State government promised that those who volunteered themselves and key into our prioritised research-based production engineering and technology-driven knowledge within the reach of the demography of young people and specifically for the training of technologists, artisans and craftsmen in Engineering fields such as: Automobile Mechanics; Electrical installation; Welding and Fabrication; Building Construction; Mechanical Craft and Drafting; Wood Work; Business Studies; Radio and Television; and Catering and Management among others, would be supported by the government to set-up their own small-scale businesses.
“In addition to the above, I stand tall and I feel boundlessly happy to say that we have successfully established a functional innovation hub and a production centre in line with our lofty dream of technological transformation of Edo State into a technology-hub that will be a pride of South-South Nigeria and the entire country. The economic impact of these technology-based educational institutions on their immediate environment and the lives of Returnees both in the short, medium and long term cannot be over-emphasised.”
Obaseki told the participants that political power should be used to better the lives of the people, adding Edo State under his watch, has used its leadership and social work skills to identify areas of needs of all our teeming returnees and has given them opportunity to choose a skill area of their interest.
According to him, “They are afforded opportunity to learn a skill or vocation that economically empowers them and gives a source of livelihood. Skills development is a cardinal point in the assignment of the taskforce which allows returnees to learn a vocational training or acquire skills which help them to have a meaningful and dependable means of livelihood.”
On efforts to reintegrate returnees, he said, “It is my delight to note that over Six Hundred and Thirty-three (633) Returnees have benefited from the first phase of the training and skill acquisition programme. It is important for us to state that we have got huge support from governmental and non-governmental organisations such as Women’ Helping Hand (an initiative of the Wife of the Vice-President, Her Excellency, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo), Genius Hub Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Action Aid, Edo State Ministry of Justice, the British American Tobacco Company (BATN), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organisation Migration (IOM), The European Union (EU), Italian Embassy and American Embassy.
He explained that over 2500 returnees have benefited from his administration’s Returnee Monthly Stipend Payment Scheme in the first phase of the scheme, noting, “Apart from skill acquisition to empower the Returnees, we have decided to be giving the Returnees monthly stipend for them to keep their bodies and souls together and this we are doing at different categories. A single Returnee is entitled to a monthly stipend of N20, 000 while female pregnant Returnees are entitled to a monthly stipend of N25, 000 each. Children Returnees who of course come in company of their parents or single mothers are entitled to N10, 000 monthly.”
He said based on the terms of reference of ETAHT, the Edo State Anti-Human Trafficking Law was passed on May 23, 2018, after relevant stakeholders had made their inputs to the legislation process.
According to him, “This good governance enhances the capacity of the state to respond efficiently and effectively to the numerous societal demands. This, of course will involve strategy, which is conceptualized here is what Hyden and Bratton, (1993) describe as “the art and science of applying resources for the optimal attainment of stated policy objectives…”degree of trust; reciprocity of relationship between government and civil society; degree of accountability; and nature of authority wielded.”
He advised that in the light of all discussed in this lecture, government at the national and continental level can take a cue from Edo State on the strategies we have adopted in approaching the challenge of the crisis at hand as well as keying into our suggested recommendations.
The governor also stressed that Nigeria and other African countries are sitting on the keg of gunpowder if the challenge posed to sustainable peace and development by these phenomena on our society is not addressed, noting, “This is so much so that without peace, the logic of development cannot and will not be sustained.”