By Jovitta Iorshase
Benue State Coordinator, Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL), Mr Victor Ama, has charged the Directors General Services and Administration (DGSAs) and Acting Chairmen who were inaugurated as Local Government Project Management Committee (LGPMC) last Tuesday to remain committed and dedicated to the ACReSAL project in order to transform life at the grassroots level and improve food production in the state.
Inaugurating the committee at the Precious Event Centre, Makurdi, the coordinator charged them to spearhead project implementation at the local government level.
Mr. Ama explained that, with one and half years out of the six years duration of the project already spent, there was urgent need for the committee to quickly form associations and cooperatives at the fourteen local governments to fast track implementation.
“I want to encourage you to be dedicated and committed to this project because, if it is given the opportunity to work the way it is planned, most of the communities will be assisted and lives will be transformed greatly.
“Also note that I and my team will pay more attention only to the local governments that are willing to do the project,” he concluded.
The Benue State ACReSAL Monitoring and Evaluation personnel, Engr Samson Naakaa, in his presentation disclosed that, ACReSAL is a multifaceted project, funded with seven hundred million Dollar loan by the World Bank to manage the desertification that is gradually catching up with Benue State.
He explained that, the aim was to restore the state’s ecosystem through four basic components: Dry land management, community climate Resilience among others in the fourteen selected local governments.
A third class Chief from Ohimini LGA, Chief Okofi Simon, who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers from the selected local governments, promised to educate his subjects on the importance of the programme and support the project to succeed in their various communities. He appreciated the state government for the initiative.
Responding on behalf of the newly inaugurated project management committee, the Director General Services and Administration (DGSA), Ushongu Local Government, Mrs Julian Agaku, , said, “I appreciate the state government for initiating this project because ,when poverty hits, people at the rural areas are at the receiving end.
We thank you for involving local governments in this aspect of change to move the state forward.
“Actually, a green environment means food, healthy living and the likes, we will ensure that the project succeeds with the desired target met in our various communities “.
Speaking with The Voice in an interview, The Desk officer, Guma LGA, Pastor Chris Okpen, said “I believe the project will see the light of the day because it’s well planned and sponsored by World Bank. The state and local government stakeholders are also serious.
“This is meant to also encourage dry season farming, to reduce food insecurity in the state, so it must be taken seriously by all of us. As for Guma this will improve millet, rice, beniseed production”.
Also speaking with The Voice, the Okpokwu LGA, Agriculture officer, Mr. Ameh Agbose said: “I have gained new insight from this sensitization and inaugural meeting”.
The Makurdi LGA representative, Mr Simon Deishi, in his statement advised ACReSAL that, ” Since the project is intended to curb the menace of global warming, frantic efforts should be made to discourage excessive cutting down of trees for coal in Makurdi LGA, which has became a serious business while Planting of more trees should be encouraged to avoid deforestation in the near future.”
Highlights of the event were paper presentations on World Bank by Orseer Anyiman, Farmers Led Irrigation Development (FLID) by Engr. Olofu Emmanuel, Grievance, Redress Mechanism by Dooshima Ortserga and Ene Ameh Esq, Community Revolving Funds (CRF) by Ugboho Seember and inauguration of LGPMC.
The selected LGA’s in Benue State are: Agatu, Ado, Otukpo, Okpokwu, Oju, Obi, Ushongu, Guma, Makurdi, Gwer, Gwer-West, Ohimini, Apa and Konshisha.