The transformation of rural communities in Benue State will receive greater focus as Governor Samuel Ortom has formally signed a Rural Development Policy for the state.
According to his Chief Press Secretary Nathaniel Ikyur, Governor Ortom signed the Rural Development Policy Monday in the Conference Hall of the Governor’s Lodge at the Benue People House, Makurdi.
According to him, rural development is a very serious facet in economic development, because there are several advantages that will accompany it if rural areas were developed, hence the need for the policy to anchor rural development.
In his words, “the issue of migration from rural to urban areas will reduce if we have a developed rural economy and things are working, you won’t find anyone migrating from rural to urban areas.
“This government under my watch is interested and deeply concerned with the issues that affect our rural areas where the majority of our people live.
“It is unfortunate that today, many rural areas are deserted as a result of security problems that have forced them to migrate to the extent of becoming IDPs,” Ortom lamented.
The Governor emphasised the importance of the policy, stating that “this policy is very key. This is why we initiated this working document with the USAID. It will enable us to have a policy to help the Government to plan and execute rural development.”
Governor Ortom particularly charged the Ministry of Rural Development and Cooperatives to ensure effective implementation of the policy, noting that he was impressed with the working document as presented.
“I look forward that the Ministry of Rural Development and Cooperatives that will be driving this policy will take proactive steps that will ensure the actualization of the policy,” he added.
Earlier, the Consultant, Mr Samuel Yua explained that the policy was put together as facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID after extensive research and interaction with people at the grassroots.
According to him, the document was organised in six chapters, comprising directional principles, issues in rural development, poverty indices, human development indices which centre around community organization and mobilisation among others.
He pointed out that the poverty in rural areas was as a result of lack of knowledge hence there was need for sensitization on rural productive activities, adding that “when people become knowledgeable, they can put their hands on what to do in terms of trade and other things that could improve the rural economy.”
The Commissioner for Rural Development and Cooperatives, Victor Ukaha who presented the Rural Development Policy to the Governor for signing, lauded him for his interest in rural transformation.
The Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, Senators Gabriel Suswam, Abba Moro and other top government officials as well as Mrs Doofan Igonor of the USAID witnessed the ceremony.
Governor Ortom later met with PDP stakeholders during which the governorship candidate, Engr Titus Uba called-in from Germany and expressed appreciation to the Governor and all the teeming party supporters for standing in support with him even as he was on medical vacation.