By Chinenye Anuforo, [email protected] 08063768550, 07054965005
President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed the strategic and constitutional role of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) as the only government agency saddled with the core mandate to build and launch satellites for various applications in Nigeria.
Presiding over the National Space Council (NSC) meeting at the State House, Abuja, the President explained that the development of space science and technology, particularly the launch of earth observation, communication and navigation satellites, remains the core mandate of the nation’s premier space agency.
The President, chairman of Nigeria Space Council, directed all stakeholders in the space sector in Nigeria to strictly abide by the regulatory framework provided by law establishing the National Space Research and Development Agency, popularly known as NASRDA Act 2010.
He commended the efforts of NASRDA in the field of space science and technology in Africa.
He said over the years the Space Agency has shown pivotal role in its deployment of expertise in the design, building and launch of Nigeria sat -1, Nigeria sat – 2, Nigcomsat -1R and most importantly, the Nigeria Sat – x which was designed and built to flight standard by Nigerian engineers and scientists.
According to him, Space Technology provides a new frontier for human development as a stimulant for increased technological advancement and economic innovation which offers a unique platform for effective exploration and exploitation of natural resources as well as the protection of our environment.
President Buhari expressed his commitment to the space sector, describing it as the foundation for cyber security and a vibrant digital economy which is at the forefront of progress and development across the globe.
He further pledged the support of the Federal Government towards the successz of the space programme, particularly in the provision of relevant resources needed for the growth and ultimate realization of the various mandates of the Nigerian space agency.
The President also directed the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonanya Onu, to urgently prepare and submit to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval “a revised 25-year roadmap for the implementation of the National Space Policy.
In his contribution, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonanya Onu stated that space science and technology was critical to nation-building and has direct impact on all sectors of the economy.
He applauded the role NASRDA has played in the development of space science and technology, which, according to him, is the catalyst for promotion of meaningful development and attainment of societal transformation.
Onu further stressed the need for the agency to collaborate with other stakeholders for the actualization of its agenda, which seeks to promote the development of space capabilities that address the urgent needs of Nigerians.
The minister also pledged his support for the agency, especially in the area of effective policy formulation and implementation, in line with its mandate at ensuring that human and material resources are mobilized to realize its objectives, for the overall benefit of Nigerians.
The director-general of NASRDA, Dr. Halilu Shaba, made a presentation on the current status of Nigeria sat-2 which he described as still functioning effectively and supplying relevant data despite the need for its replacement as it has exceeded its designed lifespan in orbit.
The NASRDA boss informed the meeting about the progress made on building and launching of two very important satellites which are the Synthetic Aperture Radar (Nigeria SAR -1) and an optical earth observation satellite (NigeriaSat-3) that will go a long way in providing relevant data, on mapping and geospatial information for decision makers in addressing issues of urgent national importance like security and economy.
Dr Shaba appealed for intensified funding of the Agency’s activities in order to actualize the set objectives for the technological advancement of the country.
He also gave a detailed briefing on the Agency’s support to the Nigerian Armed forces especially in their fight against terrorists, and the provision of digital support for agriculture and population activities, as well as the distribution of infrastructure and projects monitoring.
The National Space Council oversees the activities of the National Space Agency especially in the areas of policy development, national security and international space policy matters. It has the president and the vice president as chairman and vice chairman respectively with the NASRDA Director-General as secretary and other members.
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Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online