Benue State governor, Revd. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has promised to review the controversial Anti-open Grazing Law that put his predecessor Samuel Ortom on the warpath with herders.
In his inaugural speech yesterday, he said, “We are inheriting an Anti-open Grazing Law which implementation has become controversial. Having gone through some period of implementation, it is fit and proper for us to review the law to identify the lessons learned, hold the gains made, if any, and reform to accommodate current realities.”
Alia said he is not the governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but of Benue people and called on all and sundry irrespective of political or religious affiliations to join him to “bring back the Benue of our dreams.”
Fr. Alia who stated this during his swearing-in alongside his deputy Sam Ode at the IBB Square, Makurdi also announced that all government accounts have been frozen with a warning that any bank that violates the law does so at its risk.
This is even as the governor said “the most pressing issue facing our state today is insecurity. We cannot achieve any meaningful development in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. As your governor, I am committed to working with security agencies and the federal government to ensure the safety of lives and property in our state.
“We will also work tirelessly to address the root causes of insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and social exclusion. The state of our economy is another area that requires urgent attention. We can safely say that our State is on economic life support requiring intensive care. We will prioritize job creation and economic empowerment by promoting private sector-led industrialization, with a particular emphasis on agriculture.
“We will also work to improve the business environment in the state by enacting investor protection laws and streamlining procedures to make it easier to do business in Benue State. We took a cursory overview of the state of our infrastructure and found every facet to be comatose and non-performing due to deliberate gross negligence.
“I want to say to you Benue, I am ready and willing to provide the requisite leadership to take that leap of faith into a future of shared prosperity for Benue, and I will not fail you.”
He named other areas of concern to include the review of the state of water, health, education, sports, electricity, roads, public housing, telecommunications, and commerce infrastructure, amongst others.
Fr. Alia also lamented on a situation where he found a highly unacceptable level of abandonment and decay in all sectors of the state adding that in view of this uncanny state of affairs, government would immediately set in motion, machinery for clearing blocked drainage systems in Makurdi metropolis to address avoidable flooding, pending when a comprehensive solution to the perennial flooding in the state capital.”