"I want the public to value and regard science in a good way in Nigeria"
In our series of interviews, we present Dr Abdullahi Hassan Gana who obtained his PhD, MSc and BSc in Environmental Management, Environmental Conservation and Environmental Biology respectively. He had his undergraduate education at the University of Maiduguri and postgraduate education from the UK, where he obtained his MSc from the University of Greenwich and PhD from the University of Wolverhampton. Dr Gana has also obtained his Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and Professional Practice (PGCE) from the University of Wolverhampton. He is also a Fellow of UK Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and was a part-time lecturer at the Department of Environmental Science University of Wolverhampton. He is currently with the Department of Biological Sciences Yobe State University.
My research interest includes environmental management, waste management, drought and desertification and ecology. I drive immense pleasure when researching these areas. Most of these things mentioned above are problems we face in the northern part of Nigeria. I hope and believe that I will contribute my quota in these areas in the near future.
Tell us about your research in layman's language
My PhD thesis was on the impacts of drought and its mitigation on farmers in Yobe State, Nigeria, where drought has caused lots of losses to farmers and their means of livelihood. I was able to develop four drought mitigation frameworks for Yobe State. Currently, I’m working to apply for a grant to enable me to implement some aspects of my findings to support and reduce the impacts of drought in Yobe State.
What do you enjoy about your research and what is it about the field that excites you?
Generally, conducting research gives me a sense of fulfilment. What excites me about my research is that it deals with a real-life situation, which means changing peoples’ lives for the better.
Did you always want to be a scientist?
My interest in science began at a very young age as my dad always used to tell me a lot about it. I remember when I was young he asked one of his friends during their chat while I was present “why does moisture appear on a steel cup if the water is cold?”. The friend’s response was hilarious, but my dad corrected him and told us why moisture appears on steel cup or bowl if the water is cold. Those early days had a strong influence on my decision to become a scientist
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing scientists and their work in Nigeria?
A few of the most significant challenges scientists face in Nigeria include poor access to research facilities and funds. Others include moral support from their place of work and colleagues.
What about science would you want to see done differently in Nigeria?
I want the public to value and regard science in a good way in Nigeria.
If you weren’t a scientist, what do you think you’d be doing?
If wasn’t a scientist, I would be a food traveller.
What do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?
Understanding how ecosystems work! Arthur Tansley conceived the concept in 1935
Aspiration – What do you aspire to do next?
My future aspiration is to access grant to enable me to further my research and help my immediate community.
A few words of advice for aspiring scientists and colleagues
I urge all young and aspiring scientists to work hard, be dedicated and selfless. This will bring success.
What you wish to tell the public about your research or field?
The public should know that human activities in the environment trigger and increase the severity of drought.
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