Nigeria Reiterates Commitment to Leverage Space for Disaster Management

Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology, Hon. Dr Mamora, and DG, NASRDA, Dr Halilu Shaba

The Nigerian Minister of Science, Technology and innovation, Senator Dr Adeleke Mamora, has stated that space science and technology remains the most suitable solution for early flood detection and response in the country. Senator Mamora made this statement at the opening ceremony of a workshop on the use of space-based information to mitigate and promptly respond to flood disasters for early warning. The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its United Nations Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management (UN-SPIDER), organised the workshop.

According to the Minister, the importance of emergency responses using space science and technology cannot be over-emphasised. This resulted in the need for effective collaboration between NASRDA and relevant stakeholders in mapping out strategies to mitigate the devastating effects of natural disasters and flooding. During his speech, the Honourable Minister commended NASRDA’s efforts in mobilising relevant stakeholders. He also praised the Agency for ensuring prompt delivery of adequate space-based information, especially regarding flood response and early warning. This led to the Minster’s reiteration of support for NASRDA’s activities. However, according to him, this support should translate into mobilising human and material resources.

The Honourable Minister also charged the Chief Executives of NASRDA and its other agencies to work by forming strategic working groups. According to the Minister, these groups must periodically interface and develop ideas toward effective disaster control and management using space-based capabilities.

In ensuring effective synergy with relevant stakeholders, Dr Halilu Shaba, Director General of NASRDA, stated that the Agency had built synergy with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). This synergy is especially regarding deploying space technology applications to disaster management and emergency response. The DG noted that this was by supporting NEMA with data on flooded areas for effective decision-making and implementation. Dr Shaba also added that NASRDA collaborates with the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) on its annual flood outlook. The Agency’s role in this collaboration is to provide feedback on the flood outlook and the partnerships with several domestic and international organisations.

Also speaking at the event, the head of the UN-SPIDER Bonn Office, Mr Juan Carlos Villagram de Leon, applauded NASRDA for its strategic role in the UN-SPIDER Programme. He noted that the space revolution had started to impact the globe, requiring Africa and other trans-Saharan countries to use space-based data for effective policy formulation and implementation. Mr Villagram said effective management of floods is usually challenging without space capabilities which informs the need for NASRDA partnership with relevant organisations in managing and controlling flood-related disasters.


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