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Cross River Seeks To Strengthen Partnership With Canada

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CALABAR, May 23, (THEWILL) - Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke, has restated the commitment of his administration to strengthening its partnership with Canadian donor agencies, in its effort to deliver good governance.

Imoke made this known while receiving the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria during a courtesy visit, in Calabar, saying the partnership will be most needed in the areas of health, education, forestry and tourism.

He recalled the strong support that Cross River enjoys from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), particularly in primary health care. He disclosed that the state needs to engage additional staff to support the health initiatives, which makes it important for the State to key into Canadian Health programme so that citizens of the state can acquire skills.

The reiterated his commitment to the establishment of a polytechnic to complement the two existing universities in the state, with emphasis on core professional courses that would train graduates to be employable or to be employers of labour.

“The state government has a strong desire to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, so it solicits the cooperation and support of Canada in that direction,” he said, commending the North American country for its telecommunications feats, such as the Blackberry, a house hold name all over the world.

On government’s forestry programme, Imoke listed some challenges of the sector as control of forest degradation due to illegal logging and the creation of an alternative means of livelihood for the forest communities. “The state intends to initiate programmes that will enlighten the forest communities to see themselves as partners in the process,” he added.

Earlier, Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr. Chris Cooter said he was in the state to explore areas of cooperation and support, as one of the agencies that CIDA, has been partnering with.

Mr. Cooter disclosed that Canada has undertaken some health and education programmes in the country with Cross River State being a great beneficiary, following the first training of 200 Nigerian teachers in 1970.

He said the number has since increased, maintaining that currently, his home country has training programmes for about 104 countries on vocational education aimed at setting up skills acquisition and employment programmes.

The Canadian High Commissioner promised to work out new frontiers with which Canada can provide assistance, through a bilateral agreement.