Despite that Nigeria is blessed with best of brains in the world, lack of recurring grants to fund competitive research for Nigerian Professors had been as a major setback for postgraduate training in the country. Dr Habibah Iliyasu Attah, an academic and Environmental Microbiologist, stated this in her recent interview with Abito Citta.

Having bagged her first, second and doctorate degrees in Nigerian universities, Dr Habibah affirmed that the increased number of Nigerian university lecturers being sponsored to conduct their doctoral studies abroad had led to the improvement of postgraduate training in Nigeria.  

“In my case, when I was a doctorate student, I got awarded a scholarship (Petroleum Technology Development Fund-Local Scholarship Scheme) and got sponsored to spend six months in the United Kingdom to conduct part of my research. On my return to Nigeria, this experience enabled me to modify the curricula of some courses in order to teach my students new technologies in my field,”  she narrated.

Responding to how PhD study can be better in Nigeria, she submitted:

“First, I would appreciate more funding opportunities for senior academics teaching and supervising doctoral students. These funds should also include modern facilities for research and teaching. This would greatly enhance the quality of doctoral dissertations produced. Second, I would like to see the private sector, and not just the government, funding research in our universities. This would challenge universities to produce research that is directly applicable in industries, and these industries can explore hiring doctoral students in the relevant fields after completion of their studies. Finally, I would like to see more collaborations between universities in Nigeria and institutions in developed countries so that faculty and even doctoral students can benefit from the advanced research environment in those institutions.”

Dr Habibah Iliyasu Attah is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Microbiology at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Her  primary areas of research are Petroleum Microbiology and Bioremediation ; this field is focused on using microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi to remove petroleum hydrocarbons polluting the environment.

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