By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
Abuja, Oct. 8, 2020 The National Space Research and Developmecnt Agency (NASRDA) on Thursday, called for private sector participation in national space programmes for better results.
Dr Francis Chizea, NASRDA Acting Director General, made the call at the fourth retired Brig. Gen. Michael Agu annual lecture and conferment of fellowship awards in Abuja.
The theme of the lecture was “Satellites: Improving Life, Work and National Security under COVID-19 pandemic.’’
Chizea explained that satellite technology has the capacity of improving lives and ensure socio-economic development of the country, adding that the country has a robust space policy.
He said that the National Space Policy Road-map commissioned in 2000 was aimed at addressing national issues like flooding, insecurity, health, among others.
According to him, the funding of space programmes solely by the government has slowed development in the space industry.
“In the process of curbing the spread of COVID-19, many countries used satellites to make informed decisions and Nigeria can do the same.
“Nigeria has well trained personnel that can take care of space,science and satellite technology.
“The problem is that we don’t have all the facilities that we require today and government has been,and is still funding our space programmes.
“The requirements for space is huge and there is need for the private sector to join government’s efforts to ensure we have a robust space programme,” he said.
Chizea added: “Space programmes in the world are executed through a partnership between government and the private sector.
“For the sustenance of space programmes in the country, we need active private sector participation.’’
Chizea also called for better inter- agency collaboration on the space programmes for better results.
According to him, working in synergy with related government agencies will save cost and avoid duplication of projects.
Dr Sadiq Umar, National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISE) said that COVID-19 had projected the need for a cohesive digital ecosystem, as well as ensuring connectivity everywhere to support activities beyond the pandemic period.
“Space Science and technology has proved to us that there is need to revolutionalise the world and change its dynamics.
“Nigeria must take advantage of this innovation to utilise space and its by-products to make significant strides in optimising issues on national security and the socio-economic development of our nation,’’ he said.
Umar said that the Nigeria’s space industry ensured broad connectivity and service continuity for users even at the peak of COVID-19 lockdown.
According to him, the connectivity is empowering them to strengthen critical networks, providing valuable insight into environmental, social and economic changes in the society.
He lauded Agu’s enormous contributions towards developing Nigeria’s indigenous space industry, urging him to continue, as the nation still needed his inputs.
Naija247news reports that retired Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika, former Chief of Army Staff, Mr Olumuyiwa Ajibola, former President, Nigeria Society of Engineers and Chizea were conferred with fellowship awards of NISE at the event.
The annual lecture is being organised by NISE in honour of Agu who contributed immediately towards development of policies and programmes for the space industry.