Gov. Alia Interfaces With Benue Diaspora, Calls For PARTNERSHIP and collaboration to Develop Benue

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Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has called on Benue people in the Diaspora to collaborate and partner with his administration to develop Benue State and make it a better place for all.

According to Sir Tersoo Kula, MNIPR, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Alia made the call in the early hours of Sunday, April 21st, 2024, during a zoom interface with the Benue Diaspora, put together by both the Mutual Union of Tiv in America (MUTA) and the Idoma Association in the United States of America (USA), to enable them get firsthand information on the present administration’s general policy direction, security initiatives as well as the government’s drive in sectors such as agriculture, Mining, education, health, Banking and Finance as well as physical and digital infrastructure.

Governor Alia who informed the Diasporans that he was on a working visit to the United States, to harness the power of collaboration and partnerships to drive positive change and sustainable development in Benue, also informed them that together with some Northern Governors, they met with Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General  of the United Nations, where the agenda of the meeting was centered on tackling insecurity, boosting agriculture, addressing unemployment and enhancing training opportunities for the people of the various states.

While thanking the Diasporans for their support right from the time of campaigns and now as the governor, he also appreciated them for being good ambassadors in the foreign land; an act he said, is promoting the image of Benue as a state and Nigeria as a country. 

Asked to speak on the overall policy direction of his administration and on how he intends to transition the state from a public driven economy to a private driven economy, embracing accountability and transparency in governance, Governor Alia explained that before his assumption of office as the governor, there was a deviation not just on transparency and accountability, but on deliverability of good governance in the previous years, with the last 8years being the worst.

“We met things on May 29th, 2023, in a very terrible and deplorable state. The civil service was dysfunctional. People were no longer going to work; with most of the local government headquarters overtaken by bushes, and hardly people were going there to work and it went all through the entire system.

“The workers were not paid their salaries and everybody stopped working. Pensioners were dying on a daily basis for they had no funds to get drugs, literary. all the companies that the state had owned became moribund. And in a number of efforts in trying to pull off the puzzle, the present administration discovered that there were litigations on those companies and all of that.”

He said the government has put in place quite a number of efforts to salvage the sorry situation, beginning with the payment of salaries, compelling the civil servants to now show commitment to work.

According to the governor, for the moribund companies such as Taraku Mills, the discoveries there were deeper than meet the eye but the government is trying to untie the hook, with investment and partnership being sought for them to be revived including the Cement Factory in Igumale.

He said his administration has granted autonomy to the Judiciary, legislature and the is ready to support and implement full autonomy for the local government system, adding however that, the government is still monitoring the Local Government system to be sure the right thing is done.

Asked to talk on his administration’s plans for Agriculture in the State, governor Alia said, plans are in place to introduced mechanized systems of farming and the state is looking for investors.

“We need to increase our yields; we need to increase the farms. And we cannot do all these without proper mechanization. We are trying to make some arrangements with certain companies to come into Benue and invest. We are trying to see if we can get some assembly plant for tractors so that they can come into the state and make something for our benefit”

He said initiatives such as Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), Benue Tractor Hiring Agency (BENTA), are being considered, adding that post-harvest wastages will be curtailed, giving more value to the farmers for their products, especially now that the government is working on rural roads to enable the farmers transport their farm produce to the markets.

He said although insecurity is affecting Benue from fully expressing its agricultural potentials, the insecurity issue will be addressed sooner, especially as it is the hope of the government to raise the state’s GDP through Agriculture, with farmers being encouraged to form cooperatives to enable them access farm inputs and other necessary things that will improve their yields.

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