From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

Benue State Governor Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia has called on the Benue communities in the diaspora to invest in the educational system in the state.

The governor has also disclosed plans of his administration to grant independence to missionary schools in the state.

Alia spoke while addressing the Benue diaspora community on a Zoom meeting organized by the Mutual Union of Tiv in America, (MUTA), and the Idoma Association in the United States of America to enable them to get firsthand information on his administration’s policy direction, security initiatives as well as government’s drive in sectors such as agriculture, Mining, education, health, Banking and Finance as well as physical and digital infrastructure.

The governor who stated that his administration intends to go back to the basics by granting independence to missionary schools also said he intends to reintroduce more vocational centres across the state to enable the students to acquire skills, as well as intensify training for the teachers.

Speaking on the strategies the government has put in place to breach the gap between the private and government institutions in the state, and how he feels 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.

According to him, what was on the ground upon his assumption of office was terrible. “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 said his administration has created an Agency, Benue Education Quality Assurance (BEQA) under the leadership of Terna Francis, 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.

Related News

“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 N1.2 billion from ghost teachers.

“We went further and it was discovered that it was not only ghost teachers, but 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.”

Speaking on Security, Peace and Wealth Creation, as well as his plans for the return of the IDPs back to their ancestral homes, Governor Alia said, ”where there is no security, there will be no economy,” adding that this has been the problem of Benue as a state for some time.

According to the governor, the state has about 13 IDP camps and his campaign promises of returning them back to their ancestral homes still stand, adding that his administration is making inroads to address the situation.

On whether the people have started returning back to their ancestral homes, the governor said that has not happened permanently but there is an improvement, appreciating the federal government for capturing Benue state in the PULAKA initiative, aimed at resettling the IDPs back to their ancestral homes.

He said the security situation in the state is a combination of both herders and militia groups, especially in the Sankera axis of the state, accusing some elites of inviting the Fulanis back to the state with the notion that the Anti-Open Grazing law is no longer in force.