By Moses Akarhan
Benue State Government has earmarked 6.5 billion naira for the Benue State Geographic Information Services (BENGIS) project.
The State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Hon Bernard Aondoaver Unenge, disclosed this today while briefing journalists in his office.
According to the commissioner, “The total cost of the project is about 6.5 billion naira. That includes the construction of a befitting office infrastructure here in Makurdi and three service points in Otukpo, Gboko and Adikpo. It also includes the implementation of GIS itself which has so many components in it, including: ICT equipment ranging from Computers, Severs ,Scanners, plotters to other working tools like mobility, we are going to have vehicles. In the service points like Otukpo, Gboko and Adikpo, we are going to have completely new office buildings that will be fully equipped with ICT equipment”.
Hon. Unenge further disclosed that the first twenty (20) staff of the ministry are currently receiving training for the GIS project, saying when fully operational, GIS would upgrade land administration in the state to an international standard, adding that all the soft ware components have been built at the GIS temporary office.
The commissioner noted that, “Land administration in the state used to be a great challenge and that was what informed the best of this GIS projects. GIS is a geographic information service. It is a process where land administration is digitized. Everything about land; its acquisition, titling and all that is associated with it is digitized and made simpler and easier for people who have anything to do with it to access and use. By the time this project is completed, everything about land in the state will be made easy. It is going to make the process of land acquisition and titling simple.”
He sued for support from members of the public to enable the dream of the state government to digitize land administration become a reality and reiterated his call on land developers to always confer with the ministry before embarking on any development, assuring that they will carry every stakeholder in land administration along in order to succeed, saying sensitization and town hall meetings will be held with title holders and local government administrators to educate them on their roles and limits as well as the new land policies.
The commissioner announced that 25 towns in the state have been earmarked as Urban Centres, saying when gazette; they will be controlled by the state in terms of titles, disputes, designs and implementation of layouts.
Also speaking, the Project Manager ,Geographic Information System (GIS) Transport, Mario Bajouk, said, “ The project will be carryout in phases within 24 months. “The project is split into phases but the total duration is 24 months.”
Mr. Bajouk said every property will be captured and issued title, adding that the process will help on issues of litigation and land disputes, saying digital C of Os which would be issued within a short time on landed property will be more authentic.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Barr. Jacob Ogwuche, stressed the need for land developers to always seek the consent of the governor before doing so and emphasized on the need for advocacy to sensitize the people on the use of GIS to reduce incidences of conflicts, saying , “No human being has absolute right over any piece of land in Nigeria. If you need land in the state, you approach the governor, he is the only authority that can grant you permission to use the land….All that we need to do is to go on advocacy and sensitize the people to reduce incidences of conflicts”.
By Moses Akarhan