Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State Wednesday said his administration is intensifying the state’s response to human trafficking and illegal migration.
Obaseki stated this when he received Stefano De Leo, Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, who was on a courtesy visit at the government house in Benin City.
The governor, who said migration has become a global phenomenon which can only be managed, disclosed that a new structure for response to migration is underway.
He, however, hailed the Italian government for their support over the years, noting that the collaboration between Edo and Italy translated into the huge success recorded in the fight against the scourge.
“We feel very special that your first visit outside Abuja is to Edo. This emphasizes the special relationship that Edo State, as a sub-national, and the Italian government enjoys. We have had a long-standing relationship as you pointed out and are very glad that, under your leadership, we are hitting the ground running.
“As you know, we are currently working on a lot of initiatives with the federal government and the Italian authorities, and this derives from what we have done in the past. In the past five years, we have been working with the Italian authorities and have been able to significantly limit and reduce the incidents of irregular migration and human trafficking in Edo,” Obaseki said.
“Our people love to travel; many have established and they are doing well, which serves as an impetus for many more who want to go. But we have to regulate that process. That is where we would be discussing with you and the federal authorities. The conversation has started on the new structure for our response to migration; we call it migration 2.0.
“Here, we are saying that in addition to what have been doing in the last five years, which is first to resettle those who want to come back home and integrate them into the society, as well as try to deal with the root causes of migration so that we can reduce the number of people who want to migrate as migration is linked to development.
“In this new policy, we want to amend our laws on human trafficking and irregular migration and in addition, try to put in pathways for regular migration. We should move from migration to trade and investment.
“We are creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Edo State. Whatever businesses they are doing there, there is really no reason why they cannot bring some of the capital back home,” he added.
The Italian Ambassador, in his remarks, reassured the continuous support of the Italian government in the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration.
“Global migration is a phenomenon that is unstoppable. This visit is another opportunity to look at it as a game-changer and fully share your vision and outline how we can work together, starting from the work you did in the fight against human trafficking.
“Now, it’s time to look at the migration clause that is legal and then create opportunities to attract investments from Europe, especially from Italy. I think these are the common ground on which we can work together,” he said.