From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Government in conjunction with the World Bank is to commence the enumeration of houses within urban areas of Makurdi, Gboko and Otukpo local government areas.
The Benue State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Bernard Unenge, disclosed this at the unveiling of States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainable Programme SFTAS World Assisted Property Enumeration Project and Benue Geographic Information Service sensitization Exercise in Makurdi on Monday.
He said the state government has put in over N300 million into the project while the World Bank is expected to bring in 2.5 million dollar intimating further that the programme is expected to capture at least 50 per cent of properties within the three Urban cities.
‘The target is about 85,000 properties, but we are targeting 100,000 in case we have some errors, so we use what is left to make it up,’ he said.
‘The project is going to cost the state close to N300 million, but what we are expecting from the World Bank is within the range of about $2.5 million and above, depending on how fast we can get the data across to the World Bank.
‘We have so far trained about a hundred enumerators. The project enables for planning with access to accurate and timely data. Critical factors in decision making such as demography, population, existing amenities or lack of it, access roads and other developmental elements provide a rich source of information for good governance, provision of infrastructure as well as enable government prudently apply its resources in areas of needs,’ Unenge said.
In his address, Governor Samuel Ortom explained that with the current rapid spread and complex nature of crime in society, there was need for government to, among other measures, take proactive measures of taking proper inventory of buildings, their owners, occupants and other details.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Terwase Orbunde, maintained that the information is another effective tool for crime fighting, investigation and crime prevention.
He added that, if properly harnessed, the information can be used in the intelligence gathering units of law enforcement agencies to prevent crime in conformity with relevant laws so as to also safeguard the right to privacy of the people.
‘A well-developed database of people, and their spatial distribution is also the tool that emergency mitigating agencies will need when addressing eventualities like fire outbreak, disease outbreak, flood, crime or even terrorist attack,’ the governor said.