Gov. Alia’s Anti-graft Stance, Attracting Donor Agencies To Benue


The Benue State Government has declared that Governor Hyacinth Alia’s principled stand against corruption and other sharp practices have encouraged and necessitated the return of donor agencies, development partners and International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) back to the state.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, Sir Tersoo Kula, who stated this on Thursday, April 11, 2024 when he and the Director General, Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, Benue State, Mr Aondoaseer Leonard Angelo Viashima, interfaced with members of the Government House Press Crew in a programme put together by his office to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), brief the in-house media team on their achievements, said that Governor’s Alia’s posture against sharp practices has sent clear signals to everyone working under him that the right thing must be done at all times, thereby curbing corruption in governance.

Responding to a question on what he thinks is responsible for the return of the INGOs, donor agencies and development partners back to the state, Kula noted that many of the agencies that left the state as a result of the insincerity experienced with the previous administration, the principled stance, personality, character of purpose, sincerity and integrity, gave both the local and international agencies enough assurances to return.

Speaking in turn, the Director General, Bureau for International Cooperation and Development (BICD), Benue State, Mr. Aondoaseer Leonard Angelo Viashima, said that as the brainchild of the Governor Hyacinth Alia administration, BICD was created basically to facilitate bilateral relations, coordination, knowledge sharing, strategic alignment as well as to foster sustainable development by leveraging on the contributions of non-profit organizations, INGOs and donor partners.

Viashima said the aim of creating the Bureau has started yielding positive fruits, as the state government through the efforts of the Bureau, became the first state in Nigeria to subscribe to the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) subscription, enabling Benue indigenes to participate in the recruitment at the United Nations to improve Peer to Peer (P2P) and Business to Business (B2B) engagements.

He stressed that with the subscription of the UNV programme, which supports peace and sustainable human development around the globe through the promotion of volunteerism and mobilization of volunteers, about 45-50 Benue indigenes will be shortlisted for the programme yearly, with a possible work retainership for almost all the candidates at the end of the one year programme, thereby creating lifetime jobs for them.

The DG also said that through information sharing, networking, and resource mobilization, the Bureau has been working with the Ministries of Humanitarian Affairs, Youths and Sports, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Health, Works, Housing and Urban Development as well as with agencies such as SEMA, BENSACA among others to maximize the effectiveness of development interventions in the state.

Viashima said the Bureau which was created in August 2023, but inaugurated in November 2023, has been able to facilitate major counterpart funding for USAID Global health supply chain as well as for International Fund for Agricultural Development Fund (IFAD).

He further said; “The counter grant to these generated 4,047,750 bed nets worth about N8.8b and N1.4b to which the state paid 40% counterpart fund for the operational cost only. About 14,000 Benue state personnel participate in the campaign. Which took place between October to December 2023, a second round is coming up in 2024”.

Viashima further said that the BICD also facilitated engagement meetings between Governor Alia and 57 members of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) forum, as well as with members of the Humanitarian country team, during which some of the organizations entered into partnership with the Benue state government for sustainable development.

He said that the Bureau also facilitated and processed the signing of MoUs with organizations such as Heifer international, Plan international, Save the Children International, adding that from November 2023 to date, the Bureau signed and brought in seven INGOs to partner with the government in different areas.

Viashima further said that apart from facilitating Capacity Building Programmes in the state, the Bureau also secured the enlistment of Benue state in the Solutions for displaced persons project, targeted at returning the IDPs to their ancestral homes, adding that discussions to that effect have reached 40 per cent.

The DG equally highlighted the expansion of intervention sites to actively include Ukum, Logo Apa and Kwande areas which were not initially captured for Humanitarian interventions, as one of the achievements of the Bureau.

Viashima said that since Benue State has now been declared a Humanitarian state, the status now allows for humanitarian interventions to the state just like the humanitarian crises states like Borno.

According to him; “This means that Benue state is allowed now to share a durable solution plan being a benefactor of the multi-million USD UN support as the BAY states.

“This further means that beyond the regular UN interventions in the state, we have the return of UNFPA to Benue, four additional sectors from IOM and other UN sectors who left the state but, returning to drive support to our Humanitarian needs”.

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