The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon. Michael Inalegwu yesterday handed over the Makurdi Zoological Garden to Benue State University, Makurdi to serve as a Recreational, Study and Research Centre for the University.
Hon. Inalegwu explained that the Handover was in line with the Memorandum presented by the Ministry to the Benue State Executive Council seeking approval to transfer the Makurdi Zoological Garden to the Benue State University, Makurdi in order to achieve the desired purpose for its establishment.
He disclosed that the Makurdi Zoological Garden was established in 1976 by the Benue State Government to provide recreational facilities for the people of the State and promote Tourism as well as serve as a Centre for Research and preservation of Wild Life which has been underachieved due to paucity of funds.
According to the Commissioner, inadequate funds to improve the facility to the desired standard has led to inability to feed the inmates, low revenue generation and indebtedness to the tune of N2.5 million being amount expended on feeding the inmates.
He stated that the Zoological Garden was leased to Afric Consulting Ltd on 29th December, 2011 following approval of the Benue State Executive Council. However, there were prolonged controversies over the lease between Afric Consulting Ltd, the University and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
In view of the foregoing, an Exco constituted Committee to deliberate on the controversies headed by the Deputy Governor had recommended that the present location was no longer conducive for the Zoological Garden due to the growing nature of the University and should be relocated to another place among others.
He concluded by saying that, in order to put an end to the lingering controversies surrounding the Zoological Garden and to achieve the purpose for which it was established, it would be appropriate to hand it over to the Benue State University to serve as a Recreational, Study and Research Centre for the University.
Hon. Inalegwu disclosed that the State Executive Council during their meeting of Thursday, 1st December, 2022 approved and directed the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to initiate the process for transfer of the Zoological Garden to Benue Sate University to serve as a Recreational, Study and Research Centre in order to achieve the purpose for which the Zoological Garden was established.
Responding, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tor Joe Iorapuu, on behalf of the Council, Management, Staff and students thanked the Ministry for the handover and commended Governor Samuel Ortom for upholding and making the University a top priority on his agenda and assured that the handover of the Makurdi Zoological Garden to the University will enhance teaching, learning, research and development.
Highlights of the handover were the inspection of the Makurdi Zoological Garden site and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Those present at the handover ceremony were: Principal Officers of the University; Dean, Faculty of Science, Head, Department of Biological Science; Director, CEFTER; Managing Director, Consultancy Services; Coordinator, Physical Planning; Director-General, Benue Television; Director General, Radio Benue as well as Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.