By PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City
Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called on world leaders to respect and protect the rights of legal migrants, as the frequent movement of people to deploy their skills and expertise across the globe has become inevitable in a fast globalising, highly interconnected world.
Obaseki said this on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Migrants Day, marked every December 18, by the United Nations.
The governor said globalisation and development have made migration a common trend in the quest for human fulfilment, urging world leaders to strengthen ties that would make the movement of people across and within countries faster and in better, equitable conditions.
Noting that there was need for world leaders to respect laws and conventions that protect the right of migrants, he commended countries across the world that have shown uncommon kindness in accommodating those fleeing from conflict and creating the space for people from other countries to live and ply their trade in their countries.
He added, however, that “Much as some countries should be commended for their large heart, others have also run counter to the ideals of welcoming and accommodating legal migrants, and this must be condemned.”
According to him, “Migration has been with us from time immemorial; people have always moved either in search of better opportunities, or to flee conflict-ridden areas. But in the present day, we cannot deny the fact that movement across the globe has come to stay, be it for business, leisure, and tourism. So, it behoves world leaders to make the movement of people as seamless as possible within internationally recognised conventions on migration.”
Noting that the theme of this year’s commemoration, Safe Migration in a World on the Move, was germane to the call to ensure migrants are protected, he said the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of 2016 would go a long way in ensuring that people moving from source to destination are factored in the growing conversation to sustain knowledge exchange and increased global harmony.
He however condemned illegal and life threatening journeys such as the Libya episode, fuelled by human trafficking cartels who mean no good for their victims.
“If you have a skill or trade that is highly sought after in any part of the world by international companies, you can travel abroad to earn decent wage. Nobody will kick against that in a globalised world,” Obaseki said.
He maintained that his administration places high premium on technical education because of the inherent gains such as the ability of graduates of technical schools to become employers of labour and wealth creators.
He advised victims of illegal migration and human trafficking to embrace his administration’s skills acquisition programmes, put the past behind them and aspire to great heights as his social contract with all Edo people is to create an Edo State where everyone can realise their positive dreams.