Nigeria’s space programme on course, says Onu
Nigeria says its space technology project is still on course. The Federal Government says Nigeria is also intensifying efforts to launch an astronaut in space into space by the year 2030.
To achieve this, the Defence Space Agency has sought to play a role in actualizing the programme led by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Speaking when he received a team from the Defence Space Agency in Abuja, Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, spoke of the structures on ground to ensure that a Nigerian astronaut lands in space on or before 2030.
Onu said: “The space programme is a very important programme for a country like Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology would work very hard in the years to come to strengthen all the structures of the agencies that would help us to ensure that the nation play role in the space.
“We believe that this is achievable and we are working very hard to make sure that all the structures that are needed is provided.”
The Minister noted that Nigeria has the highest population and economy in Africa hence it is a right decision to establish the Space Defence Agency.
“Space is major asset which nation like Nigerian must also be involved for the purposes of protecting our own national interest.
“We want to assure you that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology would continue to collaborate with you and to give you any support that we can give because whatever you do will always be for the best interest t of our nation,” he noted.
Director-General of the Defence Space Agency, Air Vice Marshal Victor Udoh, noted that the Agency was seeking for the Ministry’s support to achieved desired efficiency.
He called on all the stakeholders to support the passage of the Bill establishing the Agency, which has passed first reading at the National Assembly.
He also sought Presidential support for the Space Council and the public hearing.
When asked on the impact of space technology on the fight against terrorism, he noted: “You will not see the impact because we don’t go to press to announce that we are here and there.
“We are not public relations organizations. We only give information to people that need to know. If I’m not here today you will not know that is one of the reasons why we are reaching out to stakeholders in the industry like Ministries of science and technology and Communications and some others that are stakeholders in the space technology. We don’t go to press to say that we have given pictures of where Boko Haram is. We don’t do that globally it is not done.”
He noted: “The advantage of space is that you don’t even know that it is there, taking snapshots and anywhere you programme it to be whether it is your own in terms of national assets or you subscribe to services from other providers you don’t go about announcing it. Space technology can be deployed in so many areas.
“We will like to say that Rome was not built in a day. It is not in the space industry alone that you know that you have people that are ahead of you. As you speak we are collaborating with U.S, France and it was Nigerian satellite that pick Hurricane Katrina. It is a national asset that we all share. There are provisions for the military in NASRDA.”
He added: “Our target is to get our Act signed into law which gives all the backing that we need. What we want to do is to get researchers and we want to launch as the minister said on the first astronaut and we want to be involved in research and development in space arrears and the to defend the country using defence architecture.”