From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Saturday, flagged off the Digital Aerial Photography of Benue State as part of the process for the take off of the Benue Geographic Information System (BENGIS) Project.
The Governor who was earlier at the Makurdi Airport to inspect the process of air survey of the entire state assured the people of the state that the project would be completed and become operational before the next democracy day.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after inspecting ongoing work at the headquarters of the Ministry of Lands and Survey, the Governor who commended the contractors for the quality of work done so far said when completed, the state would enjoy several benefits from the project.
“What you saw us doing at the airport was to inspect the process of air survey of the entire Benue State. We are targeting all the local government headquarters in the state and some mini urban areas so that they will be captured on our system.
“Our intention is to also fastrack this and try to qualify for the World Bank grant which is estimated at five million dollars. We have paid more than half of the money that was required for this project. I think the total sum is about N6 billion and we have paid more than N3billion and our intention is that by April or before the next democracy day, this project should be commissioned and operation going on.
“And because of the importance this government has on completing this project, the benefit of having five million dollars is not a small thing. If you multiply that by our current exchange rate, you can imagine what we are going to get. So, for me, anything that is to add more to what we have is appreciated.
“And the second one is that once this project is completed, we would have succeeded in computerizing the entire land mass in Benue State and then, the administration of land in the state is computerized. You can seat in your office and be able to do every other thing.
“And this issue of duplication of certificate of occupancy and all that will be eliminated completely. Several advantages that we are going to get from this. And above all, revenue generation and collection will become easier for us. And this we believe we should be making billions of naira every year once this project takes off. That is why even with the paucity of funds, we feel that this will be a revenue yielding program.
“The contractors have done well. I’ve looked at the quality of work that has been going on here. And if government has fulfilled it’s obligation by giving them their certificate and all the money that was required, I’m sure by now, we will be talking about roofing. That’s where we are standing while we are still working with the bank.
“Because this project is sponsored by Access Bank. While we are working with them to get the remaining funds, I just told the Commissioner that within a week, we should be able to make available another N500million for the project so that it will continue. This is where we are and I believe that we shall achieve our target,” he said.