The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the current surge in illegal migration is as a result of the lack of critical institutions to equip youths with requisite skills to survive in a globalised world.
Obaseki said this when he received Senior Participants of Course 40, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, led by Rear Admiral Kamarudeen Lawal, who were on a courtesy visit to Government House, Benin City.
Governor Obaseki said practical steps must be taken to control Nigeria’s population and opportunities created to engage youths to stem the menace of illegal migration and avert future crisis.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at diversifying the economy has created opportunities for youth empowerment.
He explained that there is a strong linkage between education and youth empowerment, and that it was unfortunate that politicians often fail to emphasise the importance of basic education in moulding minds that can make informed decisions.
“People that had no business in classrooms were hired to teach in primary schools. This created a generation, where illiterates taught children while they are at critical stage of their life,” he said.
Noting that there was need for reorientation of youths to be self-driven and motivated, he said, “Part of the challenges we deal with today are caused by youths, who have not been given quality education at the foundation level – that is, basic education – as this level of education prepares one to face the challenges of life.”
He said Edo people are confident, but some of the youths are deceived by people who lure them with tales of better life outside the country.
“Statistics shows that last year alone, over 10,000 youths from Edo State alone were trafficked to Europe and at least 3,000 of them would have died traveling through dangerous routes to Europe. This certainly is a threat to national security. Our people are sold as slaves,” he added.
Obaseki said his administration is encouraging indigenes of the state to come home as his government has built structures to reintegrate them into society, noting, “As they come, we now have an opportunity to retrain them, using them as ambassadors to dissuade others from embarking on the dangerous journey”.
Earlier, the team leader of the tour to Edo State, Rear Admiral Kamarudeen Lawal, commended the governor and people of the state for the hospitality and warm reception the team received on arrival, stating that they are billed to visit eight other states.
He said the College makes annual environmental study tours to selected states, as part of its curriculum for the Senior Course for the College, adding, “During the visit, students of the College are expected to research into critical areas of the social economic life of the people that have direct impact on national development or national security.”
He explained that the theme for this year’s tour is “National Security and Youth Empowerment,” and said that the visit will afford students opportunity to carry out on-the-spot assessment of the Edo State Government’s efforts to empower youths for national security and development.