The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration created the Ward Development Committees to spread developmental projects and improve the wellbeing of the people so as to discourage human trafficking and irregular migration.
Obaseki disclosed this at an International Conference organised by the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, to examine the root causes of human trafficking in the state.
He noted that among the factors that have contributed to the incidence of human trafficking, are “lack of access to development. We found that areas prone to trafficking lack government presence and basic amenities to support decent living.”
“We are working on a new paradigm as a government because I was shocked when I went campaigning in some communities. Our response is to take government directly to people at the grassroots, cutting through those constitutional structures which have been in place but are not as effective as they should be,” he said.
Obaseki explained, “We have the state government and local government structures, but unfortunately, they have not responded as they should to changing the developmental narrative at the grassroots.
“We had to come up with the concept of Ward Development Committee, through which we are actually going to the wards, which is the smallest political unit. We are getting community participation, understanding the requirements for development in these communities and we are addressing those needs directly.”
The governor added, “Two local government areas that are most prone to the danger – with reference to the data we have – are Uhunmwode and Orhionmwon local government areas. This is where we have people being trafficked the most. These two local government areas occupy almost a third of the land mass of Edo State. There is no ATM in any of these areas and these are the two local governments that host almost half a million people.
“In this age and time, almost half a million people in these areas are financially excluded. As a young man, will you live in any of those communities?” He retorted.