The Benue State government is to make a case to be considered for the thirteen percent derivative given to states with mineral deposits from the federation account.
Governor Hyacinth Alia made this known at Government House, Makurdi when he received reports on illegal mining, logging, and illegal roadblocks from the Joint Taskforce on the three illicit activities.
Governor Alia said despite the huge mineral deposits, Benue State was yet to gain federal attention and be included in the revenue-sharing formula, rather some economic saboteurs were taking undue advantage of that lack of recognition to defraud the people of their economic endowment.
He expressed certainty that the reports of the task force would not only provide an opportunity for the government to change the ugly narrative and check the activities of the economic saboteurs but would also provide the state with a road map to access the untapped economic potential for the benefit of all citizens.
The Governor thanked the three committees for their due diligence to the terms of references given to them in record time, promising that their reports would be carefully studied with a view to implementing the recommendations.
The coordinator of the three committees, Col. Fidelis Chileh, (Retd) reemphasized the need for the federal government to consider Benue for the thirteen percent derivatives and called for urgent recruitment and equipment of forest guards to protect biodiversity.
Chairmen of the various task forces made separate presentations on their findings and gave recommendations to the state government.
Reading the recommendations, Chairman of the taskforce on Illegal Logging, Lt.Col Ikwue Okpachu, Retd) called for the establishment of a Forestry commission with a forensic audit to be conducted on the forest reserves while the Benue Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, is synergized with the Department of Forestry to check revenue losses.
Chairman of the Taskforce on Illegal Mining, Dr Comfort Adadu, identified non-compliance to agreements between miners and host communities and multiple taxations as some of the impediments in the mining sector.
He called on the government to appoint competent and technical persons to coordinate the industry as well as train revenue collectors on mineral resources.