Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefano De Leo revealed that the Italian Government is partnering with the Edo State Government to combat illegal migration by investing in human capital development of returning migrants and potential migrants.

He said the only way to reduce the threat was to create alternatives to irregular migration through socio-economic empowerment.

Leo, who revealed it in Benin during the Migration II project symposium titled “Dare of Hope” and the product exhibition organized by Actionaid Nigeria, said that the project was funded by the Italian government through the Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS),

He tasked Diaspora stakeholders to find common ground to invest through cooperation, saying there were so many Nigerians, especially those from Edo State, who have settled in Italy.

“Funding is not the only issue, we need to find common ground for investments and new initiatives to curb irregular migration,” he said.

For his part, Governor Godwin Obaseki commended the Italian government and Actionaid Nigeria for their investment and commitment in the fight against irregular migration.

Obaseki, represented by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, said that the state has moved from the first position in irregular migration and human trafficking in the country to the fifth position due to various human, institutional and infrastructural reforms. in the state for the past six years.

Earlier, ActionAid Nigeria Deputy Vice-Chairman of the Board, Imoni Mac Amerere, said the agency had, over the past two years, under its Migration II project, trained and empowered 2 000 young people in the state.

“In Edo State, we have been complementing the state government’s efforts in child protection, youth empowerment and addressing gender-based violence and irregular migration since 2013,” said- he declared.

ActionAid last week presented start-up equipment to the second group of 1,000 young people in addition to a N650,000 start-up grant given to each cooperative formed under the project.

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