The Edo Government and the European Union have said the development of the Managing Migration through Development Programmes (MMDP) Coordination Matrix, was a way forward in curbing the scourge of illegal migration and human trafficking in Edo and Nigeria in general.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Coordination Matrix Portal during the 2nd Roundtable Dialogue on MMDP in Benin on Tuesday, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo said all efforts by local and international partners and stakeholders in the fight against irregular migration needed to be synergised to achieve the desired results.
Obaseki said the Coordination Matrix which was designed by Edo Government will create a platform for better collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders, avoid duplication of efforts and improve efficiency in Migration Management.
He noted that the Edo government would continue to demonstrate the political will to tackle the problem of human trafficking and illegal migration by constantly finding a common ground and seeking more collaboration with other stakeholders.
He said the state government had in the last one year entered into collaboration with key partners, which had significantly changed the narrative as regards the fight against the scourge.
“Since the inauguration of the Round Table Dialogue in Abuja in May this year, several partnerships have been given birth to which have contributed to the success stories,” he said.
In his keynote address, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Ketil Karlsen, appreciated efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Obaseki, which had seen Nigeria drop to sixth position in countries providing irregular migrants to Europe.
Karlsen also commended Edo Government for launching the MMDP Coordination Matrix, saying that the EU would not fund any country or state operating in isolation, without involving local stakeholders.
“We are doing better now by being transparent and by including our activities in the matrix and by guaranteeing that every next step we take will be in that vein and spirit,’’ Karlsen said.
Mr Karlsen said the European Investment bank has expressed willingness to increase investment in funding economic programmes in Africa to one billion dollars, to empower youths and discourage irregular migration, assuring that he would ensure Nigeria got a fair share of the fund.
“EU is ensuring that a holistic approach is looked at and a legal framework has been identified to address illegal migration via investment in migration institutions, youths and jobs.
In his address, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyema, represented by Martin Eze, said resettlement of returnees was at the heart of the Federal Government’s intervention programme.
Onyema appealed to foreign partners, especially countries in EU to smoothen their visa issuance processes so that eligible Nigerians who have genuine reasons to travel are not frustrated.
Meanwhile, the Programme Manager, the MMDP Coordination Matrix, Dr May Ikeora, said the MMDP was the Edo Government response to mitigating illegal migration.
Ikeora said the MMDP strategies included resettlement of migrant returnees, reducing irregular migration through skills development, addressing human trafficking and prioritising the development of risk communities.
She expressed optimism that the launch of the MMDP coordination matrix would make all efforts to manage migration more efficient and impactful.
“The coordination matrix will lead to better information exchange, better strategic planning, that is evidence-based and ensure sustainable results.