WASCAL in the News

The Federal University of Technology in Minna (FUT Minna), Niger State has produced its second set (or ‘Batch B’) of graduates under a special scheme being bankrolled by the German government.

Tagged the Master Programme on Climate Change and Adapted Landuse (CC&ALU), it is being implemented under the West African Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) initiative involving Nigeria and several other countries in the sub-region.

The 2013 batch of 10 WASCAL graduates joined 2,741 others at the 25th Convocation Ceremony of their host university in the Niger State capital recently. The graduates, who completed their programme in October 2015, returned to formally participate in this year’s graduation ceremony as they joined 464 other Masters degree holders. But, in their case, they were awarded Master of Technology (M. Tech) in Climate Change and Adapted Land Use.

The degree was awarded after 15 months of intense course work and nine months of research, which focused on the “food basket” of Nigeria, which are the North Central states of Niger, Kogi, Nassarawa and Kwara.

The Director of the Centre in FUT Minna, Dr Appollonia Okhimamhe, one of the key objectives of WASCAL is to conduct credible research to safeguard the “food basket” of West Africa from the ravages of the impacts of climate change.ALSO READ:  Okomu Oil Palm to spend N80m on environmental, health initiatives

According to her, six of these graduates were competitively selected in their various countries and would soon commence their PhD in different WASCAL host universities. She is getting set to welcome the 2016 Batch of students, 10 of whom had been selected competitively after “a very rigourous” selection process that included a “face-to-face” interview at the country level.

The graduates are: Marsanne Gloriose Bignon Allakonon (Benin), Talardia Gbangou (Burkina Faso), Gnenakantanhan Coulibaly (Cote D’Ivoire), Isaac Larbi (Ghana), Assitan Daou (Mali), Soule Moussa (Niger), Femi Oluwatosin Asonibare (Nigeria), Gloria Chiwendu Okafor (Nigeria), Dodzi Kossi Bissadu (Togo) and Séna Koglo Yawovi (Togo).

Their areas of thesis were listed to include:

  • Assessment of vulnerability of agroforestry trees to climate change in Niger State (Allakonon)
  • Analysing climate change projection on water availability for rainfed agriculture in Awan basin, Kwara State (GBangou)
  • Evaluation of root and tuber crops yield under the changing climate conditions in Kwara State (larbi)
  • Assessment of climate change and land use impact on groundwater resources in Kogi State, using GIS techniques
  • Assessment of the impact of climate change and land use/land cover in Kogi State (Daou)
  • Impact of land use and climate change in vegetation dynamics of Doma Forest Reserve in Nasarawa State (Moussa)
  • Site selection for urban forestry development as a mitigation of climate change in Ilorin area, Southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria (Asonibare)
  • Household vulnerability and adaptation to water stress induced by climate change on Downstream Kaduna River Basin (Okafor)
  • Remote sensing and GIS-based assessment of land degradation driven by climate land use/change in Nasarawa State (Bissadu)
  • Assessment of crops lands changes using remote sensing and GIS and adaptation strategies to climate extremes in Lapai Local Government Area.

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Dr Okhimamhe disclosed that the vision of WASCAL on research is that at least a paper is published from the final output of each student’s masters research thesis.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Mubau Adewunmi Akanji, expressed the institution’s gratitude to the German Ministry of Education and Research for funding the WASCAL programme, adding that FUT Minna has kept its vision for a robust academic development.

“Our 2015 annual report offers and introspective perpective of an institution committed to promoting academic excellence through autonomous intellectual partnerships,” he disclosed.

Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali, urged the graduating students to see the degrees and grades as work in progress.

His words: “You must see your graduation today not as an end to the journey. Rather, you must see today as the beginning of the beginning. You must rise to the occasion and always aspire to do better. Opportunities and challenges await you in the world ahead.”ALSO READ:  Mexico urges early ratification of Nagoya Protocol

Chancellor of FUT Minna, Eze Eberechi N. Dick, the Eze Udo I of Mboko Ngwa Amaise, described the event as unique in the sense that “the graduands will be the first that I will confer with degrees and diplomas as the chancellor of the university.

The Eze, who is also Chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, said: “I feel a deep sense of pride to be here with you all on this auspicious occasion where some of you who have been found worthy in character and learning are being bestowed with certificates as a reward for your academic exploits.

“As you may be aware, this university was established to provide the much-needed manpower for the development of the country in the areas of science and technology and the university has remained committed to its mandate.”

Countries under the WASCAL programme include Nigeria, Benin Republic, Niger Republic, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Ghana.

Dr Okhimamhe described WASCAL as a regional centre for capacity building in climate change across West Africa. She added that WASCAL is also designed to help tackle challenges of climate change thereby enhancing resilience of human and environmental system to climate change and variability.

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