Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said that his administration has achieved international best practices in land administration with the state-of-the-art office complex of the Benue State Geographic Information Service Centre (BENGIS) project.
Ortom stated this on Monday during the inauguration of the office project of BENGIS complex.
Although the project was inaugurated by his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike.
The BENGIS edifice which is located at the premises of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals in Makurdi is a major component of Governor Ortom’s N6.5 billion Land digitization project that is fully completed, furnished, and equipped with high-tech state-of-the-art facilities.
Other components of the project also completed, are aerial survey and mapping of the entire state with high-resolution orthophotos, conversion of analog map plans and files to the digital system, staff training, and procurement of survey and other technical equipment as well as field vehicles for the ministry.
BENGIS is a system of land administration in which ICT is deployed through digital platforms and software for seamless management of land administration such as processing of C of Os, systematic and efficient land recertification, regularization and registration of titles, warehousing of land documents in soft copies and hard copies, automated and transparent system of revenue generation which eliminates leakages, amongst other functions
While speaking at the occasion, Ortom said that the inauguration of the edifice marks a milestone in the history of his administration, and could not have come at a better time given the increasing role of Land Assets in the socio-economic development of the people.
He said he was optimistic that the project will attract the World Bank’s Grant of USD$2.5 Million through the State’s Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability, (SFTAS) Programme to be applied for developmental Projects in the state.
According to Ortom, “With the regular reports I am receiving since the introduction of Geographic Information System in Land Management, the numerous challenges that were associated with Land Administration in the state have been reduced to the barest minimum.
“In fact, since the commencement of the BENGIS Project, the Land Digitization initiative has greatly improved Urban Planning, infrastructure development, environmental management and encourage private investment,” he said.
The governor urged stakeholders in the Lands, Survey, and Solid Minerals sectors to support the project in order to add value to the industry and also called the ministry to maintain the facilities and ensure that the building itself and installed equipment are given round-the-clock protection.
A representative of the Consultant firm, GIS Transport Ltd, described the building as a symbol for a mindset, for spirit, for a drive, for a culture saying “Like a mosque or a church or a temple is a symbol for a greater idea, the BENGIS Service Centre is the symbol for a modern, efficient, transparent, service culture in Benue state.”
He said the staff was trained, public outreach initiated, and technology provided according to target set by the World Bank in number and in quality.
Earlier state Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Mr. Bernard Unenge said with BENGIS, the process of transfer of land ownership has also been streamlined for greater efficiency that has drastically reduced incidences of land disputes.
According to him, the processing of a Certificate of Occupancy, which was hitherto cumbersome, has been reformed such that it takes just a month or two to get a Cof O at the Ministry.
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