The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Jean-Claude Brou has commended the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) for its success story and noble achievements which has strategically positioned it as a frontrunner in the field of Space Science and Technology in Africa.
In a Press statement by the Head, Media and Corporate communications of the Agency, Dr Felix Ale said, the ECOWAS President made the remark during a special visit to the National Space Research and Development Agency headquarters in Abuja as part of on-going efforts towards the development of space science and technology in the ECOWAS sub region.
Mr Jean-Claude who was conducted round on facilities tour of the Space Agency by the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu was elated with the level of infrastructural development and giant strides recorded by the Agency.
He said the historic achievements recorded by NASRDA thus far since inception has not only justified its leadership position in the field of space development in the continent, but it has also encouraged a good number of countries in Africa into the establishment of Space programmes and Agencies to facilitate meaningful development for the overall benefits of the people.
The ECOWAS president expressed delight over the various activities of NASRDA as encapsulated in the report presented to him, describing them as very enlightening and encouraging, pointing out that the remarkable achievements in the area of capacity building has made the Agency self-sufficient and indeed, a world class organisation to emulate.
Mr Jean-Claude was of the view that the disparity between the developed and developing countries is in science and technology, saying, there is the need for the leadership of ECOWAS to intensify efforts in these strategic areas of space development to gradually bridge the gap.
The ECOWAS boss also commended the Nigerian government for its timely decision and investments in the space programme, saying Nigeria is today a good example to emulate in the area of space application in the African region.
He commended the present administration under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari for its outstanding contributions and support towards the activities of the Space Agency which according to him has greatly assisted the Agency in the sustainability of its enviable track record of achievements.
The ECOWAS President also pointed out that the various collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Space Agency with other countries and organisations across the globe has not only placed the country on the world map, but has been of immense benefits to the country and the continent at large.
He commended the management and staff of the Agency for their high level of patriotism and commitment, emphasising that, their unique roles towards the successful implementation of Nigeria space Agenda are not only inspiring and heartwarming but remains a great source of pride to the great people of Africa.
Earlier in his remark, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu expressed appreciation to the ECOWAS President for his maiden visit to the Space Agency, describing it as historic.
He said, there is need to change the narratives from a continent bedevilled by poverty, diseases, unemployment and the like, to a continent where science and technology is judiciously utilized for the development of all.
Dr Onu expressed concern that although Africa is blessed with so much resources but regretted that it has failed to exploit these resources for her development, rather it has left it at the mercy of other countries while the continent wallows in poverty.
The Minister however explained that in bridging the widening gap between developed and developing countries, the region needs to harness the tremendous potentials that abound the continent, particularly through the application of Space Science and Technology.
Also, the Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency, Professor Seidu Mohammed who had earlier presented a detailed report on the activities of the Agency in the last twenty years of its existence described NASRDA as a strategic Agency for development in Nigeria and Africa.
He enumerated various satellites that had been successfully built and launched by the Agency, saying the feat remains the highest in the history of Africa, particular in the quest for the utilisation of space resources for the overall benefits of the people.
Professor Mohammed expressed the readiness of the Nigeria Space Agency to continue to collaborate with other African countries at any level to develop space programmes for the overall benefits of the continent.
The NASRDA boss reaffirmed the determination of the Agency towards the launch of indigenous satellite on Nigeria soil by 2030 in line with its Space policy and road map, assuring that no stone will be left unturned until the desired and noble objectives are achieved for the overall benefits of the people of Nigeria in particular, the ECOWAS sub-region and the continent in general.
Dr Felix Ale
Head, Media and Corporate Communications