By Lucky Isibor,
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, (ANEEJ) has identified lack of economic opportunities, lack of security, high incidence of corruption among other factors as drivers and facilitators of illegal migration which has assumed a frightening dimension in Edo State and tasked who ever emerges victorious in the 19 September governorship election to enplace policies and programmes to address the issue and bring lasting solution to the problem.
The Deputy Executive Director of ANEEJ, Mr. Leo Atakpu made the disclosure, Thursday, September 17, in Benin City while unveiling the findings of a research on “Migration and Corruption Nexus” commissioned by ANEEJ with support from the Embassy of Switzerland in Nigeria as part of the implementation of a project, “Tackling human trafficking through advocacy to increase investment on human capital development and civic engagement in Edo State”.
According to Atakpu, the research conducted by Dr. Oscar Ubhenin of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma on the causes of Illegal migration “points to a broad range of factors that drive migration. Paramount amongst these are the lack of economic opportunities, lack of security and high incidence of corruption. Lack of economic opportunities is often occasioned by inadequate funding for key sectors in society like education, health and critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture and entrepreneurship. Lack of security is generally an outcome of multifaceted failures in society such as poor governance, lack of social capital and trust between citizens and government institutions, cultural and religious differences and poverty,” he said.
While commending Governor Godwin Obaseki for expressing his commitment to open government by signing up for the Open Governance Partnership (OGP), Atakpu urged the state government to approve the implementation of the OGP in Edo State and enumerated recommendations for implementation to curb illegal migration to include, “Adopt a holistic approach in dealing with the challenge of migration that grasps the society-wide implications of the issue. Policies and programmes should therefore integrate economic considerations, budgetary allocations, security issues, social norms, anti-corruption and other governance reforms.
“Provide a clear roadmap that builds on the ongoing efforts of the Edo State Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking and strengthens extant partnerships with relevant development actors such as the International Organisation for Migration.
“Commit to investments in key sectors such as education, healthcare and entrepreneurship with the objective of addressing social and economic drivers of migration.
“Build strategic partnerships with civil society organisations in the state within a framework of collective action to ensure the practicality and effectiveness of ongoing and proposed policies and programmes.
“Ensure that skills acquisition and other human capacity development programmes initiated in the context of reintegration of returnees and those salvaged from trafficking are undertaken in a strategic and sustainable manner.
“Government has to build the infrastructure required to pull migrants back to Edo State. Specifically, electricity, roads, water and hospitality industries. This will show in commitments to budget for critical human development sectors to stem the tide of irregular migration, and perhaps the ‘migrants again, and again’. There should be judicious application of available resources to the critical human capital development sectors. This is in view of the dwindling resources of government, and in particular, the IGR affected by the COVID-19.
“The Government of Edo State should fast-track the process of signing the Open Government Partnership (OGP) State Action Plan. This will serve to confirm the avowed commitment of the current administration to open government. Also, CSOs will be positioned for effective engagement in the state income and expenditure patterns.
“Votes allowed for the critical sectors of the economy should be released as at when due. This will serve to achieve conscientious implementation of the budget.
A standard mechanism for measuring the extent to which the Government of Edo State translates resources into outputs that equitably serve their citizens should be developed.
“The Edo State Public Procurement Law should be reformed to achieve institutional strengthening for the Edo State Public Procurement Agency. With this, offenders of the law can be prosecuted without encumbrances, thereby achieving an effective anti-corruption institution in Edo.
“International development agencies should support CSOs to be effective agents of civic engagement in Edo State public spending for education and health.
CSOs in Edo State should act in unison for impactful engagement in the budgetary process and public contracting. Keeping eyes on public spending help to reduce corruption.”
In her remarks, Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Post Primary Education Board, Dr. Roseline Okosun who said she was making a her remarks as founder of the Edo Women Development Initiative enumerated some of the contributions of the Edo women Development Initiative to stem the tide of illegal migration and trafficking in women.
“We were concerned about our daughters and sisters who were being trafficked. We were able to take our cases to different groups. We went to churches, we went to the market women, to students in schools.