The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government is strengthening partnership with the European Union to sustain the gains recorded by his administration in human capacity development, job creation, and tackling illegal migration, among others.
Obaseki said this when he received the Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms Samuela Isopi, who was on a courtesy visit, at the Government House, Benin City.
The governor said the state is consolidating ties with the EU and exploring new areas of investments in the culture and tourism, education, tech and other sectors of the state’s economy.
He said, “We have had a very good and strong relationship with the EU since we got into office in 2016. They have been very supportive of our efforts at stemming the tide of irregular migration and human trafficking from Edo.
“For the successes and achievements we have made in the area of human trafficking and irregular migration, the EU has been a strong ally. They have worked very closely with us and their partner, the IOM, in ensuring they are able to roll out programmes to support victims of trafficking and returnees and help them with resettlement and job opportunities, making sure they are properly integrated into our society.”
On areas of collaboration, the governor stated, “Next year, December 3rd, marks 200 years an Italian archeologist, Giovanni Benzoni, came to and unfortunately died in Benin City and was buried in Ughoton, which we will be celebrating.
On her part, the EU Ambassador who noted that added that Edo is one of the first states she’s visiting since her arrival into Nigeria, hailed the Governor’s development strides across all sectors of the state’s economy.
She said, “Edo State, a few years ago, was the state from where 50 percent of the illegal migrants in Europe came from and now this percentage is lower than 10 percent. All thanks to the leadership of the state government and strong partnership with the European Union and other partners.
“We have a very strong partnership with your state government on migration and mobility, both on supporting the resettling of returnees from Libya and creating the right conditions for the youth of the state to find opportunities here – education opportunities, job opportunities, among others.”