From Abel Abogonye, Lafia
Vice Chancellor of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) Prof. Suleiman Bala-Mohammed, has promised to continuously give full support to the university’s Institute of Strategic and Development Communication (ISDEVCOM) in it’s drive to raising the standards of science communication in Nigeria and Africa.
Bala-Mohammed made the pledged in an interview with newsmen at the sidelines at the 4th Isdevcom two days conference on communication and development in Africa taking place in Keffi local government area of the state on Wednesday.
According to him, Science communication encompasses a wide range of activities among which are informing non-experts on scientific ideas, methods, knowledge and research in an understandable and useful way and Informing public policy among others.
Bala-Mohammed said since the establishment of the institute in 2018, the institute has succeeded in popularizing and raising the standards of science communication in Nigeria and in Africa most especially in public policy formulation and implementation.
He said this informed the resolve of the management of the University to by all means continue the support for the institute to among other objectives churn out scientific and public policies that are useful and easily understandable for the benefit of the public.
“Isdevcom is about five years old now and it has done wonderfully well in terms of raising the standards of science communication. So we plan to work with a number of universities in Africa to further popularize science communication.
“We are fully committed to supporting the Institute but we know that funding can never be enough. So we have encouraged those at the institute to also seek partners that they can collaborate with so that they can get more funding,” he said
He described the annual conference as very important with specific emphasis on the 2023 conference which he described as data driven development with all key players attending to contribute to the theme of the conference.
“So this conference is an epoch making event. We are happy with the massive turnout particularly of key stakeholders who came to interface and exchange ideas.
“The conference has provided an opportunity for cross fertilization of ideas. The outcome of the conference is going to help in public formulation, formulation and implementation,” he added.
Also speaking, Prof Emmanuel Dandaura, Executive Director, Isdevcom and Convener of the conference said the 2023 conference theme which is: Change Management and Data-Driven Strategic Engagement for Development was chosen in a bid to discuss the various ways communication can be applied from the perspective of the intelligence that can be read from data.
“We have experts both from the sciences and humanities attending and will be deliberating on the theme. I hope we can come out with a communique,” he said.
In another interview, Mrs Rose Gidado, a participant at the conference described the timing and theme of the conference as apt given the current situation in Nigeria whereby there is a lot of data but there is lack of engagement with right stakeholders to manage the data for optimal use.
Gidado who is also the Director, Agric-Biotechology Department, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and who was given the “Excellence in Science Communication Award” by the institute on the first day of the conference expressed gratitude to the Institute for the honour granted her.
She then pledged to strengthen the synergy between the Institute and NABDA.
“I am not taking the award for granted. I am still so elated, happy and delighted and also motivated to do more because the more you receive, the more you get motivated to do more for the benefit of the society.
“I appreciate the Institute and wish them well and want to assure them that our partnership with them will definitely continue,” she added.
Others awarded by the institute include Governor Abdullahi Sule with “Excellence in Leadership Award”, Governor Simon Lalong with “Excellence in Strategic Community Engagement Award” among others.