Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State on Sunday disclosed that his administration inherited the sum of N359 billion as debt from the past administration in the state.
He disclosed this at an interdenominational church service to commemorate Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary.
The church service was organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Benue State Chapter at the Methodist Cathedral, South Bank, Makurdi.
The Governor, who is a Catholic priest, said in spite of the debt burden, he was determined to reposition the state by providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said: “God has accomplished His work and it is now left for us to make our state and nation to work.
“I am here to make things work.
“What we inherited was nothing to be proud of, but we will do what will make us all proud.
“I inherited over N359 billion debt.”
Alia regretted that the state lost billions of Naira worth of agricultural produce and other property to herders’ attacks on farmers.
He said the farmers must be supported to do their job well.
Alia said the condition of rural dwellers following incessant herders’ attacks and fuel subsidy removal had become worrisome.
He said his administration would find ways to support farmers by providing seedlings, fertilisers and other forms of support to enable them to work effectively in the coming farming season.
He added: “My colleagues call me the governor of the richest state in Nigeria and I agree with them because we have numerous mineral deposits, we have the best yams and soya beans among others.
“We will create billionaires in the state through our farms.
“We have everything it takes to do it.”
Alia ordered an immediate end to illegal mining in the state.
He said: “The foreigners illegally mining gold in Kwande, Logo, Konshisha Local Government Areas and other places in the state should desist from it immediately.
“This is an order.”
He said that God blessed the state and the entire Nigeria abundantly and it was left for the leaders to make things to work.
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He decried the spate of kidnapping and other criminal activities in the state, pledging to tackle them.
The governor said the future of the state was in the hands of the youth, adding that his administration was training 10,000 youths in information technology for improved digital knowledge.
Alia gave the assurance that his administration would not accommodate corruption and nepotism.
The governor appealed to Benue State sons and daughters to support the state in any way they could.