What Benin, EU Are Doing To Stop Journey To Europe Through Desert
Persons who started their journeys to a place they thought had greener pasture, have ended up in prisons in Libya or as slaves to their fellow mankind.
Some even die in the desert on their way out of Africa to Europe.
This was the sad reality that dawned on Nigeria last year when a video showed Nigerians are being sold into slavery in Libya and this had triggered series of responses to end the trend.
These journeys most times in Nigeria start in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, and a Bounce News video documentary portrayed this belief.
Again, the European Union Parliament and the Edo State government are evolving a solution to illegal migration which is common to the union and the state.
Dr. Josef Weidenholzer, Chairman, Sub-committee on Human Rights, EU Parliament, met with the the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, in Benin on Friday.
Weidenholzer said that helping the state to curb illegal migration would strengthen existing ties between EU and Nigeria and create a win-win situation for both.
“We want to improve the stable relationship EU has with Nigeria and set up a common agenda in tackling trafficked migration since the people are actually forced into the phenomenon.
“We are here to find a common solution because there is no point in just sharing the problem. I think we have to share the solutions," he said.
He commended Governor Obaseki for the positive approach and structures he was putting in place to curb illegal migration from the state, adding that the EU was ready to give needed support.
"It is a good starting point on the part of the governor if he wants to create an enabling environment for people in Edo to see a future in the state.
"We are here to give the support; Edo can become a model for a new relationship between Europe and Africa," he said.
To end the trend, Edo State wants the EU to help in investigating and getting intelligence in tracking and prosecuting traffickers, and also wants an arrangement that would, more importantly, give hope and skills to young people being trafficked.
He said that his government had started to resolve the menace of human trafficking and illegal migration but needed additional support for training.
“Just imagine, we need to give technical or vocational training to 3,000 to 5,000 young men and women; where are the teachers, where are the facilities?
“We need massive support, not necessarily cash but the skills and the knowledge; in that way, we can give hope to young men and women that they are not useless to themselves.”
Agriculture is another sector that the state government is exploring to address youth unemployment in the state which had fuelled this quest to go through the deadly desert or even swim the Mediterranean Sea where necessary to get to Europe.