The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured that the reconstruction and expansion work ongoing at the Benin Science and Technical College (BSTC) will be near completion by the end of the year.
Obaseki gave the assurance during his meeting with the delegation from the European Parliament in Benin City, at the weekend.
According to him, “The Benin Science and Technical College is a work in progress and we anticipate that it would be near completion before the end of the year. When the project is completed, it will enable victims of human trafficking and others acquire technical and vocational skills which will offer them hope.”
The state government is embarking on reconstruction and expansion work at the College which would also as a vocational centre in the state to engage youths on vocational skills and discourage them from illegal migration.
Noting that his administration will continue to engage youths on vocational skills to protect them from modern day slavery, Obaseki said, “the state government is making effort to provide reliable data and projects in the areas of agriculture, logistics and vocational training to create employment opportunities for youths in the state.”
He noted: “The state government is working to reach a common ground with the European Union (EU) on strategies to halt human trafficking, illegal migration and modern day slavery, which include support for skills development programme for victims of human trafficking and other youths in the state.”
Explaining that the state government requires support, he said, “What we require is not necessarily cash, but support for skills development programmes through which our youths can gain practical knowledge and skills to lead better lives.”
Obaseki said, the BSTC is one among the state government’s initiatives put in place to tackle human trafficking and illegal migration, adding, “The state government requires additional support to sustain the initiatives. Just imagine, if 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? Much as we are not discouraged, we need support to provide these structures.
“The state government needs support to furnish workshops and laboratories; we have to recruit teachers, who have to be sent abroad for training. These are some of the areas the EU could provide technical support to assist the government and provide support for skills acquisition for young people,” he added.
At the meeting, Dr. Josef Weidenholzer, who led the EU delegation assured the governor that the European Union Parliament is ready to provide support for the Edo State Government to curb illegal migration, noting, “The state and the EU share in the problem. This will strengthen the existing ties between EU and Nigeria to resolve illegal migration and human trafficking.”