Gov Alia assures Benue people of secured lives and property
By Our Reporters
The Benue State governor, Rev Dr Fr Hyacinth Alia has expressed his willingness to partner with developmental bodies to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the benue people.
The Governor made this pledge on Monday,9th October 2023, at Government House Makurdi, when he held a meeting with the Benue State Task Force on Women inclusion, Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
Governor Alia assured that he was deeply committed to ensuring that every citizen, irrespective of their background is empowered to contribute their full potential to the development of the state.
He appreciated their offer of support and facilitating partnership opportunities with development partners, stressing the importance of such partnership in advancing the developmental agenda of the state, and assured that his administration is dedicated to create an enabling environment by formulating relevant policies and legal framework to facilitate these partnerships.
In her address, the Team Leader, Dr Irene Awunah expressed her trust in the capability of the governor to steer the affairs of the state as to attain it’s place in the community of prosperous states, where every citizen is contributing their potential unhindered.
Dr Awunah applauded the governor’s positive disposition in including marginalized persons in his government, as seen in his appointment of a member of the task force, Mr Bartholomew Bem Ashie, who is the Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, as a Special Adviser in his government, saying that she was positive that the appointment will provide further impetus to the domestication of the discrimination against persons with disability law in the state.
The Team Leader also said that as a development resource mobilization strategy, Civil societies would positively support the government to attract partnership development opportunities from development partners.
She urged the state government to show greater commitment by creating favorable conditions for such partnership to thrive, emphasizing the importance of putting in place relevant policies and legal frameworks.
She also asked for adequate inclusion of women in governance process and decision making, and requested for the creation of the office of the Special Adviser on Gender and Social Development, to help boost the gender equality rating towards attracting more partnership.
Dr Awunah called for the review of the Violence against Person’s Prohibition law in the state, as to strengthen the protection of everyone in the state from sexual and gender based violence.
She further disclosed that among the review, will be the institutionalizing of the Benue Sexual Assault Referral Centre(BSARC), as an agency under the officer of the governor, as to ensure strict administration and professional accountability of funds likely to come in from International NGO’s, and also provide for the phase-setting of the BSARC centres across the 3 Senatorial zones, in each local governments, and eventually all wards in the state, this she said will grossly help in the reduction of statistics.
She was also optimistic that funds required for the setting up of Family Courts will be factored into the State budget estimate of next financial year to allow for the setting up of the family courts, assuring that every other administrative process had already been put in place.
Dr Awunah encouraged the governor to sign Benue into the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which is a major medium to attract International development partners to support the state, disclosing that a civil society arm of the partnership already exists in the state.
Gov Alia In turn, appreciated the constructive dialogue he had with them during their consultative workshop on women inclusion, sexual and gender based violence held on September 6th, 2023, saying that their contributions were remarkable at shaping his administration’s approach towards addressing this critical issue.
The governor disclosed that the employment of Mr Bartholomew Bem Ashie as Special Adviser was one of his administration’s show of commitment and collaboration against discrimination of people with disabilities.
On gender equality in government and decision making, the governor said it was a major priority of his administration, while appreciating their invaluable perspectives and expertise, he announced that the creation of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender and Social Development was under consideration as it aligns with his commitment to advancing gender equality.
Gov Alia said as to further strengthen and protect all individuals in the state, regardless of gender, his administration was set to review the Violence Against Persons Prohibition and Administration of Criminal Justice laws in the state.
He also said that his administration was ready to explore the institutionalization of the Benue Sexual Assault Referral Centre (BSARC) and its expansion to various levels of government, and also assured the inclusion of funds for the establishment of Family Courts in the state’s budget estimate in the next financial year.
The governor also said that his administration will work towards ensuring that the Open Government Partnership program is fully implemented in the state.
Also speaking at the occasion, representatives of other development partners like the HeForShe UNDP program, Benue State Non-Governmental Organisations Network (BENGONET), and other Civil Societies in the state, commended the governor and pledged their support to push his developmental agenda to the grassroot level.
Highlights of the occasion was the presentation of the HeForShe logo t-shirt to the governor.
The task force is comprised of Various Civil Societal and Non-governmental Organizations.