By Brenda Agba & Egbe Attah
Benue State Government has commenced the process of training ten thousand youths in various aspects of Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia made this known last Wednesday I Makurdi during a live phone-in radio programme as part of activities held to mark his First 100 days in office.
The governor who disclosed that the training programme was being carried out in partnership with Google and Bill Gates Foundation, further said, it is going to be a continuous process as it is aimed at reducing the high rate of unemployment in the state.
On the issue of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in various camps, the governor disclosed that the process of returning them to their ancestral homes was ongoing, adding that it involves many other stakeholders.
According to him, “the process is in three stages. We are done with the first stage which is dialogue and the second stage is almost completed”.
Speaking further, Governor Alia highlighted other achievements within the period to include: payment of four months’ salaries and pensions; provision of fertilizer to farmers at a subsidized rate; flag-off of sixteen number township roads at different locations within Makurdi, the state capital and sanitization of workers payroll which has saved the state of over one billion naira.
The governor said his administration within the period has also put a stop to illegal and multiple taxation; paid 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) at a revised rate; increased allowances of Corps members serving in the state; implemented the new retirement age for teachers in the state; lighted up some streets in Makurdi, the state capital amongst others even as he stated his administration’s resolve to revamp the sports sector in the state.
As part of activities marking his first one hundred days in office, the governor also carried out an inspection tour of some of the township roads under construction.
Meanwhile, as the governor of Benue State, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, marks one hundred days in office, a cross-section of Benue citizens have commended his leadership style.
Speaking with The Voice last Thursday in Otukpo, Benue State, the state chairman of Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Comrade Godwin Agbo, said the governor has started on good footing.
According to him, “one hundred days in office is too short to assess the performance of a political administrator but within such time indices of success or failure are bound to show and by what we have seen of Alia in the area of salary payment, education, urban development, revamping of the state civil service among others, one can say he has not disappoint the Benue populace.
“Since coming on board, he has been regular in salary and pensions payment , he has flagged -off construction of about sixteen streets in Makurdi, the state capital and has been very prudent in management of state funds. If he continues like this, Benue will be transformed before the end his first term. However, I would advise him not to relent and ensure he fulfill all his electoral premises to the people,” he stated.
A retired civil servant, Alice Ochapa, said Alia’s one hundred days as Benue governor is worth celebrating. She stated that prior to his coming as Benue governor, retired civil servants in the state were dying of poverty, hunger and illnesses mostly associated with senior citizen but his emergence has put all that to rest.
A frontline journalist and President -General, Opiatohok’Idoma (an Idomascio-cultural organization), Chief Elaigwu Abutu, also gave kudos to Father Alia for his performance within his hundred days of piloting the affairs of Benue.
Abutu stated that, “the governor has done well for keeping some of his promises to the Benue electorate. He has been regular in salary and pension payment, which I am a beneficiary.
“Alia, has given fertilizer to farmers at subsidized rate and he is set to register our children for the Senior Secondary School Examinations as well as embark on the construction of roads in Makurdi.
“However, I would implore him to continue in these trends until he leaves office.
Still singing the same tune, an elder statesman, Chief Icha Adole, noted that the signs shown by the governor within his short stay in office are indicative of a man on a mission to change the ugly narrative of the state.
Adole who is the Patron, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools in Benue South, specifically described the governor’s move to register Benue secondary school students in their final year for the forthcoming West African Examinations Council (WEAC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) as revolutionary.
He however, appealed to him to create enabling environment to enable his organisation contribute its quota to the education industry in the state, lamenting that members of the union are burdened by double taxation.
All others who spoke, including Samuel Egwurube, Michael Okoriko, Comfort Odeh, commended the governor’s performance within the short period and wished for greater performance from him in the days ahead.
They observed that the governor’s decision to register the state secondary school students for external examinations have given parents a sigh of relief.
They advised the governor that the palliatives he intends to distribute to Benue people to cushion the effect of the current economic hardship be carefully planned to ensure they were not hijack by the hawks and hyenas.