By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja, Aug. 13, 2020 Nigeria and India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on cooperation and collaboration in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
The signing of the MoU took place via a virtual web meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria while Amb. Abhay Thakur, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, signed on behalf of the Indian Government.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Defence attaché of the Indian High Commission, Col. Saghih Dubey and Dr Francis Chizea, Acting Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA).
Speaking after the signing of the agreement, Onu said that the MOU would strengthen the deep historic ties between both nations in terms of socio-economic development, space exploration, environmental safety and trade.
The minister said that the two nations had made relentless efforts in ensuring global peace,
“Nigeria and India share many historic ties, as both nations have been working closely to ensure global peace.
“The signing of the MOU is a right step in the right direction as it would accelerate Nigeria’s economic transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge and innovation-driven economy,” Onu said.
The minister commended Indian government for its tremendous feat and advancement in space exploration.
According to him, other developing countries are looking up to India to achieve similar feat.
He emphasised Nigeria’s desire to make its economy globally competitive by investing in space technology.
Onu further said that both nations were poised to look for new areas in collaboration and development in peaceful uses of outer space technology.
He disclosed that Nigeria had developed and launched four earth observation satellites and two communication satellites.
The minister listed the observation satellites as NigeriaSat-1, NigeriaSat-2, NigeriaSat-X and NigeriaEduSat-1.
He gave the two communications satellites as NigComSat-1 and NigComSat-1R.
Earlier, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri Muraleedharan, said the MOU would be of mutual socio-economic benefits to both countries.
Muraleedharan commended the relationship between both nations and noted that Nigeria was India’s largest trading partner in Africa with a trade volume of $13.8 billion.
Muraleedharan added that Nigeria provided 10 per cent of the energy needs of India.
He also said the historic event would further expand collaborations in agriculture, space technology, defence as well as further the advancement of global peace.
Dr Chizea, the NARSDA boss, highlighted some of the benefits of the MoU to newsmen after the event.
According to him, it will facilitate the planning and implementation of joint space projects of mutual benefit and interest.
Chizea added it would also lead to the establishment, operation and maintenance of ground stations for data reception.
He also said it would enhance exchange of equipment, documentation, data, results of experiments, development of micro and mini satellites for scientific and commercial purposes.
Highlighting further, he said joint activities in launch services, operation and utilisation of satellites would be made possible.
He also said it would promote industrial cooperation between the national companies and entities of Nigeria and India specialised in space technology.
Chizea added that it would promote capacity building in space science and technology, as well as space application programmes for societal purposes.
He said exchange and training in the field of space among academic institutes of both countries was a possibility.
By Sylvester Thompson