Benue deserves 13 percent derivation fund from federal allocation

Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Iormem Alia has revealed that the state deserves thirteen percent derivation fund given the mineral resources available in the state

Governor Alia disclosed this on Monday while addressing Benue diaspora community on a zoom meeting organised by the Mutual Union of Tiv in America (MUTA), and the Idoma Association in the United States of America 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.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Tersoo Kula quoted Governor Alia as lamenting that it was lack of vision and underhand dealings by past leaders, Benue State should be enjoying 13% derivation from solid minerals found on the land long ago.

The Governor, the statement continued regretted that Benue as a state with 34 out of the 46 mineral deposits found in the country is not enjoying the 13 percent derivatives as an oil producing state because of lack of coordination.

The governor, who emphasized the need for coordination in the sector explained that it was that which gave birth to the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) under his administration, to serve as a link between the state and the federal government in the area of policy making and to address issues of illegal mining, thereby protecting such solid minerals for the government and people of the state.

On the Mining/Extractive sector, the statement said the governor expressed satisfaction that the state is the most blessed in terms of mineral deposits but lamented that the mining sector remains one area that has not been properly tapped and that there was no coordination in the past allowing things to be carried out illegally in the sector.

According to the statement “It is only when we came in on May 29th, 2023, that we made the Benue people realize they have solid minerals. Is it that they never existed before we came in? No, there were there. But those who knew; those who were robbing us, came in there and carted away what they wanted.

“It is so surprising to hear that it is our very own who were robbing us of the solid minerals. They knew the solid minerals existed there and invited the bad guys who came in behind closed those to rob us”.

He said the state government has placed a moratorium on Mining activities in the state in order to fish out the illegal miners, adding that Traditional rulers have been warned not to sign MOUs with the miners as was obtainable in the past, saying anyone found engaging those foreigners who come from nowhere to start mining in the villages will not be spared.

Speaking the Educational sector and the strategies the government has put in place to breach the gap between the private and government institutions in the state, and on how he feel religious based organizations and private organizations can invest in the education system in the state, Governor Alia said, education is very dear to his administration and he is doing everything to revamp the sector.

“We met the Benue system in comatose but that of education was even worse and we are just trying to reinvent our educational system, with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) already geared with programmes to reinvent the educational sector in the state.”

He informed also that his administration has created an Agency, Benue Education Quality Assurance (BEQA) under the leadership of Terna Francis, Ph.D, and the agency is doing extremely well, adding that through the Agency, many discoveries have been made about the public schools, including the discovery of ghost teachers and ghost schools.

He lamented that the schools are so saturated with ghost teachers, and the system is saturated with ghost schools. Immediately we came into office, we were able to save N1.2billion from ghost teachers. We went further and it was discovered that it was not only ghost teachers, but existed ghost schools as well. And the least we found was that the ghost schools had 95 ghost teachers and the minimum Grade level of the teachers at those schools was Grade level 10. Just imagine how much they packed! And if we unveil to you those who have been involved in this corrupt system, you will be so shocked to hear names. Yet, this has been going on and on for ages.”

As he called for investment in the educational system in the state, the governor said his administration intended to go back to the basics by granting independence to missionary schools, reintroducing more vocational centres across the state to enable the students acquire skills, as well as intensifying training for the teachers.

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Written by Nike

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