Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom’s schedule yesterday included the hosting of the Nigerian Sugar Development Council and leaders of the organized private sector labour unions in the state.
He assured the sugar council that communities in the state were ready to provide land for sugar plantations to feed refining plants and advocated an out-grower scheme to make indigenes part of the production process.
The Governor appealed to the council to explore suitable land in Gwer, Gwer West, Makurdi, Guma, Buruku, Katsina-Ala, Logo and Agatu for sugar cultivation saying the two big rivers in the state made all year cultivation possible.
He explained to the labor leaders that the state government would not spend money on the cargo airport which will be sponsored entirely by the investors with the state paying for its equity through its share of profits.
He said the Executive Council approved the construction of a befitting lodge at the Benue Peoples House in honor of Governor Aper Aku at N450 million provided for in the 2016 budget but subject to availability of funds.
According to him the lodge will contain 27 chalets and other facilities and in the long run cut the cost of accommodating some government guests in hotels.
Acting Executive Secretary of the Sugar Council, Mr Samuel Alikwube solicited assistance from the Governor in the acquisition of land in the state for sugar cultivation by investors.
He disclosed that four sites have been identified in the state for the purpose.
Chairman of the Nigeria Labor Council in the State, Godwin Anya, led the unionists to the meeting with the Governor.
They commended him for some of his initiatives including the cargo airport and urged him to lobby for the establishment of the zonal headquarters of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the dredging of River Benue.