On the 13th October 2014, the Federal University of Technology in Minna, Niger State graduated its first set of students under the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) Management programme. The institution operates the Master of Technology in Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (CC&ALU) course.
Director of the FUT Minna Masters Programme on CC&ALU at the WASCAL centre, Dr Appollonia Okhimamhe, said that this makes the Ivory Tower, led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof Musbau Akanji, to be the first host university to graduate WASCAL students on schedule – within a period of 24 months.
The students are: Ochuware Akpeokhai, Andrew Adenle (both Nigeria), Enoch Bessah, Emmanuel Nyadzi (both Ghana), Ebrimma Sonko (The Gambi), Sophie Kima (Burkina Faso), Pelagie Dah-Gbate (Benin), Bello Garba (Niger), Karamoko Sango (Mali) and Akamah Abel (Togo).
She added that the graduation ceremony also featured the commissioning of the WASCAL CC&ALU building, located in the Gidan Kwano Campus of the university, where Prof Akanji and his team of Principal Officers received guests such as the Minister of Environment (represented by Dr Samuel Adejuwon, Director of Climate Change Department in the Ministry), German Ambassador to Nigeria (represented by Mr Dirk Schulz); Chairman of WASCAL Board (Prof Haidara), WASCAL Board member representing Nigeria and Second Vice Chairman (Prof Adeniyi Osuntogun), as well as Executive Director and his team (Dr Sedogo, Ouattara and Mr Ofori).
Okhimamhe, an Associate Professor of Geography (Remote and Sensing Applications), listed other guest at the event to include: Vice Chancellor of FUTA represented by Prof Bayo Omotosho (who heads the WASCAL Centre at the Federal University of Technology, Akure); representatives of our two German Partner Universities (Dr Michael Thiel and Mrs Mini Boutros, who is also the GRP/MRP Coordinator of WASCAL); members of WASCAL CC&ALU International Regional Advisory Board comprising Prof Bayo Omotosho, Dr Eric Forkuo (representing KNUST), Dr Georges Abbey (representing University of Lome), Mrs Christine K (from HBF representing the Civil Society) and Dr Adejuwon (representing Focal Ministry); members of FUT Minna Advisory Board led by the Dean of Postgraduate School, Prof (Mrs) Stella Zubairu; as well as staff and students of WASCAL.
“The graduating students also showcased their research in a poster exhibition that was declared open after the WASCAL CC&ALU building was commissioned,” disclosed Okhimamhe, even as she poured encomiums on the German Ministry of Education and Research “for approving approximately 1.05 million Euros as students scholarship, tuition fees, research grant, honorarium to participating faculty, as well as for the construction of CC&ALU building, provision of equipment, books, furniture, 12-seater executive bus, among others.”
Her words: “We also thank the Federal Ministry of Environment for the recognition granted to the university by selecting us to represent Nigeria; and for signing the Cooperation Agreement that made FUT Minna a legitimate member of WASCAL Network of Universities.”
She recalled that, for over two years (from January 2010 to February 2012), FUT Minna participated in the preparatory activities of WASCAL, an initiative on climate change capacity building, which is a collaboration involving 11 countries – Germany (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and 10 West African countries namely: Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cote d’ Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo, The Gambia and Senegal.
The programme covers three major activities: Graduate Research Programme, Competence Centre and Research Component, and Nigeria is involved fully in the Graduate Research Programme being the only country with both a Doctoral and Master degree programmes.
WASCAL is overseen by a Council of Ministers chaired by Ghana with the involvement of ECOWAS as observer, a Governing Board and an Executive Director, whose office is based in the headquarters in Accra, Ghana. The implementation of the programme is guided by a Cooperation Agreement and Constitution signed by the 10 ministers of the focal ministries in charge of either Environment (as the case may be in Nigeria and Ghana) or Higher Education and Research (in most of the Francophone countries) in a ceremony organised in February 2012 in Lome, Togo.
“It is a novel approach to capacity building in Africa and the host universities,” stressed Okhimamhe.
On Monday, March 23, 2015 the Federal University of Akure in Ondo State passed out its first set of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students under the programme.