WASCAL graduates 10 PhD students

The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) in conjunction with the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), has trained 10 students in research on climate change and sustainable land management.

The graduands, who bagged PhDs, were from Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D-ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal.

They were trained in two programmes-Climate Service and Research.

Speaking at FUTA’s graduation, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallan, said WASCAL started in 2009 when the German government proposed to set up two Regional Science Services in Africa.

The minister, who was represented by Mr. Peter Tafa, noted that the aim of the centre was to develop capacities of African institutions to conduct climate change research.

She said lack of adequate, reliable and verifiable scientific research findings, data and information on climate change in Africa and indeed, in Nigeria, had continued to be a major challenge against effective policies and actions to combat climate change.

She said: “It is for this reason and considering Nigeria’s existing facilities, vast manpower and resources that would put the centre in good stead to effectively deliver on its goals, that the Nigerian government vigorously pursued the opportunity provided by the German government’s initiative, which led to the establishment of two centres in Nigeria – one at the FUTA (the Centre for Climate Change and Monsoon to run Graduate Research Programmes for PhD), while the other at Federal University of Technology Minna (FUT Minna) was offered a status to run programmes, leading to Master of Science degrees (MSc) under the WASCAL initiative.”

Mallan said the Federal Government installed a state-of-the-art high performance computing (HPC) system in the FUTA centre to further enhance the centre’s data management ability.

She urged the university management and the centre to explore options of availing wider spectrum of stakeholders the services of the centre.

The Director, WASCAL Graduate Studies Programmes, Dr. Mamadou Ouattara, said the programmes are intended to provide science-based advice to policymakers and stakeholders on climate impacts, mitigation and adaptation measures.

He revealed that Germany has spent over 50 million Euros on the programmes in West African nations.

The WASCAL Director in FUTA, Prof. Bayo Omotosho, said climate change is one of the key challenges to pave the road to sustainable development, describing the graduands as well equipped to be true West African asset.