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The age long Federal college of land Resources Technology (FECOLART) which situates at Offorola in Owerri West LGA, last Friday April 1, 2016, held its 22nd second matriculation ceremony. The occasion was as usual used to officially or formally admit fresh students into the various academic programmes of the college for the current session. At the same time the new students were guided to affirm in the presence of college authorities, their parents and guardians, to their unalloyed, undivided loyalty, good conduct and absolute compliance with the college rules and regulations.

In a welcome address he presented at the occasion, the Provost of the college, Dr. Oluyemi Akande (KSC) assured that the college will do all within its capacity to impact positively and transform the fresh students into well groomed and worthy graduates who will at the end of their study, strive to contribute to the growth and diversification of Nigeria's economy and by extension the global society. He charged the students to be of good behavior, mindful of their studies and to make effective use of the college handbook which he introduced to be second only to their bibles or Quran and to religiously use it as a guide to compute their academic performance and progression and to avoid getting into regrettable but avoidable troubles.

He claimed that in line with the schools objectives of producing quality Scientists, Technicians and Engineers, the college has over the years strived to procure most of the facilities that are essential and necessary for effective teaching and learning and advised them to eschew all forms of wastages and to judiciously apply, guard, and use the available resources put at their disposal at the permanent site while at the same time, desisting from defacing the block walls or tampering with the aesthetic values of the school environment. By so doing he added, they will exhibit the highest standard of moral behavior. He also charged them to behave in such a way that their education and training will show in their dressing, speech, and general comportment both within and outside the campus and to resist all forms of social vices, such as cultism, hooliganism, examination malpractices, forgery, indecent dressing, sorting and disobedient to constituted authority. Such perpetrators he said operate in several nefarious and clandestine ways. While recognizing the students' parents and guardians as stakeholders in this important duty of character molding and formation, he enjoined them to play their sensitive role of monitoring the type of company their children and wards keep during vacations.

Speaking further, the Provost explained that FECOLART Owerri is one of the special colleges of agriculture in Nigeria under the supervision and management of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD). The College is however directly supervised by the Federal Department of Agricultural Land and Climate Change Management Services (FDALCMS). The College, he also stressed was established to address the problem of lack of skilled level manpower requirement in the areas of land, soil resources conservation and environment management, Food security and climate change management in the rain forest ecological region, which was established in 1981 to supplement its sister college already in place at Jos, Plateau State.

According to the Provost of FECOLART, Dr. Oluyemi Akande, the academic programmes of the college are organized under such schools or faculties, as School of Agronomy and Extension Services, School of Natural Sciences and the School of General Studies (GNS). To this end, the College has trained over 4500 students at various capacities in the programme mentioned above on an average of 300-400 per academic session. Unfortunately, it was observed that since inception no convocation ceremony has been organized for all the graduates since inception due to poor administration, negligence and weak management. To make some of the students self- reliant, the college according to the Provost trains students on honey, pineapple, cassava high yield, poultry, sheep and goat, fish, confectionaries, soap, paints and detergent productions on regular basis. Whereas the college admits an average of 350 students yearly, it has only I No; 200 capacity male hostel, 3 Nos; 200 capacity female hostel and 5 Nos; lecture blocks of five classrooms. Though an agricultural based institution, it lacks a good number of the basic equipment with just I No; 50 capacity cafeteria, 3 Nos Farm Tractor whereby only one is presently functional and I single meteorological station. For more than 35 years of its existence, there are no access roads to and within the college, no perimeter security fencing, no administrative block, no official vehicles for Principal Officers including the Provost, no students' bus considering the remote location and far distance of the college at the wild forest of Oforolla and worst of all no college clinic. The students study under such hazards at the mercy of God.

To worsen the precarious situation of academic study at FECOLART, the Provost revealed that the college is yet to be hooked up to the NEPA/PHCN central grid, and  devoid of any illumination from street light yet the area is wild life and dangerous reptiles prone. Not even the cheaper solar powered street lights has been installed or provided by those who represent Imo State at Abuja as Senators, House of Representatives members, Lawmakers at the State Assembly and Local Government authorities for the past 30 years of existence.

Finally, the Provost condemned the attitude of the National Assembly in delaying the passing of the enabling Law/ Act establishing the college which many of the lawmakers have now appropriated to offer employment to their girlfriends and cronies. This explains why the Provost, Dr. Olyemi Akande paid glowing tributes to distinguished Senator Sam Daddy Anyanwu who he described as the first Senator and the first time a Senator will personally visit the college to see things for himself. He concluded by appealing to the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to see reason to extend his developmental search light and Rescue Mission beam on the college, noting that the Federal Government alone can not meet all the financial requirements. Altogether about 200 fresh students were present for the matriculation which was graced by the Guest Speaker, Prof. A.S.O Soneye of UNILAG, Chairman of the occasion Prof. Damian O. Asawalam of MOUA among others.                   

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