A total of sixteen participants comprising of staff and students from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State have undergone series of training by the International Business Machines (IBM) aimed at building capacity for online teaching.

The training was organized for the Africa Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food safety (ACEMFS), FUTMinna by the Association of African Universities (AAU) as part of COVID -19 response for effective and continuous teaching and learning.
Coming as a twofold package, the training covered Artificial Intelligence Analyst and IoT cloud developer courses.

In the Artificial lntelligence Analyst course, participants were taught the fundamentals and basic concepts of Artificial lntelligence, Machine learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing and Chats Development. They were also exposed to the design and development cycles of these processes using the IBM cloud tools.

In the IoT Cloud Developer course, they were taught the fundamentals of IoT and its application to real life scenarios and the development of IoT based systems for the real-life problems using the IBM cloud tools was also a major highlight during the course.
The training was held in three rounds; First round ,Cloud Application Developer Training held from 4th to 21st May, 200; second round, Artificial Intelligence Analyst Training took place from 29th of June to 16th July, 2020 while the third round , IoT Cloud Application Developer Training was held from 20th to 29th July, 2020.
As the ACEMFS prepares to commence its first semester, the capacity building trainings are essential amidst the Pandemic as they will be applied for e-learning.

One of the beneficiaries of the training, Engr. Dr. Folorunso Abiodun from the Mechatronics Department, FUT, Minna said, taking the IBM Academy courses has not only improved his skills and understanding of Al as well as IoT systems but has also widened his horizon on the next big thing (industry 4.0 revolution) and how to bridge the gap between academia and the industry.

In – addition, the Blended Learning approach of the courses which allows for self-learning, classroom training and hands on practical made the learning process a lot easier and has equipped them with more skills in facilitating remote, online as well as physical teaching.

Commending the management of ACEMFS, Dr. Abiodun said” On behalf of other participants from FUTMinna, I would like to thank the Centre for providing the platform for us to upgrade and improve our skills”.

International Business Machines Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Armonk, New was founded in 1911 in Endicott, New York, as the Computing- Tabulating-Recording company and was renamed “International Business Machines” in 1924.

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ACEMFS and FAMU Strengthens Collaboration.

The collaboration between the Africa Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food Safety, Federal University of Technology, Minna,(FUT, Minna) Niger State, Nigeria and Centre for Water Resources, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University,(FAMU) USA was recently boosted with the funding (full scholarship) of a candidate from FUT, Minna, Saheed Bolarinwa to pursue his MSc in Soil and Water Science for a period of 2 years in the Centre for Water Resources, FAMU, USA.

The scholarship which is worth $32,566 a year was competitive as getting such assistantship at MSc level is rare and candidate must meet up with the Institutions requirements which include; application fee, TOEFL and GRE fees and WES evaluation.

Centre leader ACEMFS, Prof. Hussaini Makun has expressed his sincere appreciation over the opportunity given to the student to secure full scholarship for one of FUT,Minna candidate via the centre.

The Director, Centre for Water resources, FAMU, Prof. Odemari Mbuya is an academic partner and member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of ACEMFS.

The awardee Saheed Bolarinwa holds a B.Tech degree in Soil Science and Land Management from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger state, Nigeria.

The ACE impact Bootcamp Ends in Djibouti

The Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna Prof. Abdullahi Bala has urged the Africa Centre of Excellence, on Mycotoxin and Food Safety, FUT Minna to strengthen its capacity for a smooth take off of the center.

The VC gave this charge at the 10th ACE 1 workshop and ACE Impact Boot Camp which took place from the 18th – 26th of February, 2019 in Djibouti, East Africa.

Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Emmanuel Udensi, the Vice Chancellor disclosed that the World Bank is interested in getting Africa developed by providing grants and credits to help them implement projects that stimulates economic growth.

He described the workshop as an exciting one and a good training which will strengthen the capacity of the staff towards a smooth running of the center.

Prof. Bala noted that the 5 year term of the project has begun counting and enjoined the team to work together with its partners and stakeholders to achieve the implementation plan of the project.

The Vice Chancellor further reiterated its commitment to the center adding that ACEMFS will get full institutional support as its success will attract national and international reference to the university.

In his opening remarks, The ACE Impact Task Team Leader (World Bank), Mr. Andreas Bloom said the world bank and the French Development Agency (AFD) in collaboration with the African governments have conditionally identified 44 ACEs (26 new ones and 18 from ACE 1); 5 Emerging centres and 5 Colleges and   Schools of Engineering for funding through  this new phase called “ACE IMPACT”  adding that it is critical that they get the New Aces started in the right direction by providing experts to guide and Vice- chancellors to support.

Mr. Bloom disclosed that the ACE IMPACT Project is as a result of the amazing success of the ACE1 institution adding that they produced over 2000 PhD and counts on the new ACE to scale it up to 5000.

On his part, the Center leader, ACEMFS, Prof. Hussaini Makun said it was a laudable decision by the World Bank, Association of Africa University (AAU), National University Commission (NUC) and AFD to have organized the booth camp.

Prof. Makun noted that the booth camp for ACE impact which are the new centers has clearly taken the center officers through on how to effectively operate the center and strategies on implementation plan and also created a platform for networking with the ACE1.

The ACEMFS leader pointed out that the center aims at creating learning opportunities and research results that will address Africa’s shortage of expertise in food safety and applicable solutions to ensure the safe, controlled and sufficient food supply that will support economic growth and public health particularly in West and Central Africa.

Prof. Makun is optimistic that ACEMFS will be a success story as it has the full support of the management of the university as well as 46 partners across the 6 continents of the world comprising of national academic, sectoral and regional partners.

He added that the center has established  links with international institutions that are into food and technology research adding that AAU has opened a platform for all ACE’s in Africa for interrelation.

The center leader noted that the regulatory bodies in the West and Central Africa Countries have indicated interest to partner with ACEMFC in terms of training to acquire higher degrees in the area of food safety and toxicology which will help them evaluate their food, do toxicological evaluation and establish their own legislative standard.

The ACE For Development impact was attended by the World Bank, AAU, AFD, NUC and other stakeholders. The conference was declared opened by the President of the Republic of Djibouti, His Excellency, Mr. Ismail Omar Guellen on Wednesday 20th February, 2019 at Kempinski Hotel, Djibouti city, Djibouti.

Discussions at the workshop focused on the challenges of establishing centers of excellence which includes getting international accreditation, student centeredness, bridging the Francophone and Anglophone language barrier, World Bank/AFD procedures and requirements and achieving the disbursement link indicators results. There was also plenary sessions for VC’s to discuss with their centers.

The 9 ACEMFS officers were in attendance.

ACEMFS holds Inaugural Stakeholders Meeting

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As part of efforts to ensure safer foods and secured living in the society, the Africa Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food Safety (ACEMFS), Federal University of Technology, Minna,  held her stakeholders inaugural meeting from the 18 - 20 June, 2019 at the Chemical Engineering Lectre Theatre, Main Campus, .

While declaring the ceremony open on Tuesday,June 18, 2019 the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, fsssn, said the University was established to put to effect the nation’s desire for self reliance in science and technology, and since that period, the University has gone from a modest beginning to become one of the leading universities in Nigeria.

He said, “it is therefore not  a fluke that FUTMinna competed for and won the grant for the ACEMFS and it is an honour to host the Centre because it has immediate benefits that have direct influence and relevance to, not only the immediate community, but Nigeria as a nation.”

Prof. Bala said food quality and food safety today is a tropical issue, while the coming of ACEMFS is apt and timely and an opportunity for FUTMinna to improve on the international flavour and content of both the faculty and students of the University, adding that, the University wholeheartedly welcomes the ideas of ACE and the fact that the West Africa and Central Africa regions will be the immediate target for admission of students and also for staff exchange and collaboration in research institution.

The VC thanked the World Bank, NUC and all the partners that came together to produce a very competitive grant proposal that saw the University being awarded the Centre. He assured them that FUTMinna will give its support for the Centre to maximally perform and be the best in Nigeria.

The Centre Leader, Prof. Hussaini Makun in his speech, said the vision of ACEMFS is to be a global food safety training and research authority in order to realise sustainable and secure health for humanity.

He said the mission of the Centre will create an opportunity and such results to address Africa’s shortage of expertise and applicable solutions to ensure a safe, controlled and sufficient food supply that will support economic growth and public health.

Prof. Makun added that the Centre intends to tackle some challenges and make sure there are safer foods, resulting in wellness, economic growth and social wellbeing. The Centre will also have a teaching and research programme which will focus on surveillance and intervention of Mycotoxins and all intellectual properties will be tested on the farms, he said.

The MD, Research Adviser, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt, Dr. Habiba Aly Hassan-Wassef, while delivering her keynote paper, titled: “Crisis Management Strategies in Food Industry,” said that the mission of research development is health and wellbeing of human kind.

She said, many African countries do not have the appropriate infrastructure to deal with the information and the scientic data produced by centre of excellence.

 Dr. Wassef disclosed that in her report on Mycotoxins and Aflatoxins infection in Africa, the reference were because of poverty and under development and lack of infrastructure, many Africa countries are unable to apply the norms and the relations of the data required by international quality experts, and The Centre, she said is therefore here to change the infrastructure prerequisite.

She said the health sector is the front line actor when there is an outbreak or a food poisoning and when such occurs, the most important thing to do is how to communicate adequately when the cause is not yet identified.

Dr. Wassef said, crisis management is a learning experience and every time any country manages a crisis, there is always an experience in it and ACE will also act on these experiences as it is a training process.

She mentioned some requirements for crisis management, which includes: competent trained personnel, public health surveillance system, primary health team familiar with system of existing health hazard, established crisis reporting system and a national network of accredited reference laboratories.

The wife of the Executive Governor of Niger State, Dr.  Amina Abubakar Bello in her remark expressed her appreciation for the invitation, while congratulating the University for getting the grants for the Centre. She said it is a proud moments for everyone in Nigeria and FUTMinna in particular to be the University in Nigeria that beat all other universities to actually get the grants.

She said food safety is what a lot of people take for granted and described the coming of the Centre as a right step in the right direction because it will help train the relevant professionals.

Dr. Bello who is a Medical practitioner, disclosed that her work on cancer has exposed her to what caused cancer and the associations it has with food.

She said the idea of having the numbers of Ph.D’s and Masters students that are going to be developed from the Centre is absolutely wonderful and if those students are able to apply themselves very well, something fantastic will emerge. Having the Centre, she said is a great opportunity to address everything that is lacking.