By Blessing Enagu, CRS-MOI Officer reporting from Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry 

Permanent Secretary,Cross River  State Forestry Commission, Mr. Timothy Akwaji has admonished students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike,  Abia State,  to be good ambassadors of their Institution by conforming to the rules and regulations guiding the operations of the University and the State as a whole

Mr. Akwaji gave the charge when he welcomed the students of the University to the Commission on  a 4 week Industrial work experience Training,  noting that as students of a professional course, it was imperative to have field experience beyond the theories learnt in the classroom.

 He assured them of safety through out the period of the programme in the State, urging them to take advantage of the expertise of the Commission, as their ability to expand their knowledge depends on the willingness to learn.

The Permanent Secretary remarked that during the July 2019 Green  Carnival, the Umudike Students who were on similar programme participated actively and added colour to the parade of the Forestry Commission.

Mr. Akwaji intimated them that the State as the flagship of tourism in Nigeria, holds over 50% of the remaining tropical forests in Nigeria and a biodiversity hotspot, reasons why it pioneered the UN-REDD+ programme in Nigeria.

The Forestry Commission's Permanent Secretary stated further that Cross River State is a member of  Under 2 Coalition; member of Governors  Climate and Forests Task Force; Member of the Climate Group and is at the front burner  in Climate Change Mitigation advocacy.

“You are not only home to a State that is very biologically diversed, you are home to the pioneer in Climate Change mitigation,  we have added adaptation,  we are into resilience as far as climate change is concerned “Mr.Akwaji explained.

He recommended that Eco-tourism should be included in their  curriculum to get them prepared for the future when the economy of the country would revolve around the natural environment.

Responding,  the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) Co-ordinator, Mr.  Ogbonna  Augustine appreciated the Ministry for sustaining the long existing partnership and assured that the students will not go contrary to the regulations of the Commission and the State as a whole.

He intimated that the students who are 400 level students in the Department of  Forestry and Environmental Management were in the State to acquire field experience as a course requirement.

According to the 2019/2020 programme of activities, the Students would be exposed to Ground Survey,  Inventory and Mensuration, Forest Management Plan, Aerial Survey and Remote Sensing, Harvesting, Processing and Utilization of Wood as well as Zoo and Park Management. 

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