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Edo govt unveils plans for kickoff of Agric College

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By Jethro Ibileke

No fewer than 208 staff have been recruited for the commencement of academic operation at the Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Iguoriakhi.

The employees comprise of 47 lecturers, including professors, and 161 non-academic staff.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Stephen Idehenre, disclosed this on Friday in Benin.

He said the State Government’s commitment to providing prospective students in the school with world-class learning experience is the motivating force behind the hiring of talented personnel to kick start learning activities in the Institution.

He said, “A lot has been going on at the School of Agriculture. The School was shut down and completely rebuilt. The Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, assured that he was going to rebuild and reform the institution, which he has done.

“New structures completely built, with a technical team to advise on the start-up date, and the standard of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) on the minimum requirements for both academic and non academic staff, predominantly the core courses for lectures have been met.

“About 47 lecturers, including professors and 161 non-academic staff, were employed. These are the first tranche to kick off operation, as we look forward to the school reopening next month.”

The Commissioner also stated that the Institution’s educational standards are comparable to those of top-tier universities, and are also the highest in Nigeria when compared with other technical institutions in the country.

“The institution is different from every other one you find around the Country. If you have a ranch, for example, and you have students of animal husbandry who have left other institutions, you find out that many of them were not trained for purpose, and the proprietor of such enterprises never had the opportunity to engage the university authority to say, ‘this is the kind training that I want students who will work with me to have’. Hence, we must have these kinds of training for every student in Edo State,” he noted.

Explaining why the state is employing only 208 staff now and the rumours about the Institution’s former employees, the Commissioner clarified that many of them have been urged to reapply, so that they could be evaluated for employment into the institution, having been fully compensated for their past services.

He added, “So far, this is the minimum requirement set by NBTE; as we progress and the school continues to expand, we will employ more people. Don’t also forget most of the staff that were there before were fully compensated, and were also asked to reapply.”

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Peter Osagie, assured that all modalities had been put in place for the Institution to kick off activities in August, adding that accreditation of the courses by NBTE is set to be finalized once learning activities commence.

“You don’t go about opening the school, if you have not engaged your accreditation body, and you don’t get accreditation before you open your doors. You open up and they come and find out what you have.

“Right now, we have over 10 hectares meant for farmland, poultry, piggery, fishery, cattle ranch, state-of-the-art laboratories, lecture halls and many more.

“These are technologies that do not exist in colleges of education across the Country, and the letters that were given are just the icing on the cake to show that we are ready to kick off operations next month,” he added.

Meanwhile, the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the reopening of the Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will bolster the government’s efforts at diversifying the State’s economy through agriculture, ensuring the development of the manpower to drive the government’s agriculture-based economy.

Obaseki who spoke at the Pre-College Opening and Agribusiness Stakeholders engagement at the newly rebuilt Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Iguoriakhi, Ovia South West Local Government Area of the State, said the institution has been upgraded to compete favourably with the best of specialised agricultural training institutions across the globe.

He noted that the College, with three campuses in Iguoriakhi, Agenebode and Uromi, will groom and harness the knowledge and skills of the state’s teeming youth population to drive the government’s vision to boost food production and grow its economy.

He said: “You are all aware that agriculture is the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, not oil. It is becoming clear that for us to have food sufficiency, raw materials for our industries must be produced.

“We are calling on investors who have invested in the State and soliciting their support to move this institution and the State forward in terms of developing the agricultural sector.”

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