According to a news release from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), during the 7th Annual Lecture and 6th Conferment of Fellowship Awards held in Abuja, the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISEng) collaborated with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) to explore space technologies for improved security in Nigeria.
The event, dedicated to honouring retired Brigadier General Michael Agu, the inaugural chairman of NISEng, to acknowledge his contributions and accomplishments in advancing space engineering in Nigeria, attracted numerous stakeholders.
According to Dr Sadiq Umar, the Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD) Director, “With our broadband connectivity and direct-to-home capabilities, we should effectively coordinate our assets and leverage our remote sensing facilities to mitigate these security challenges. NigeriaSat-X, a low-resolution remote sensing satellite, presents limitations in pinpointing precise problem areas and providing solutions. We are collaborating with pertinent agencies and the Presidency to acquire a high-resolution satellite that offers detailed imaging at 0.5 to 1-metre resolution. This advanced satellite will enhance our capabilities by identifying problem areas, providing insights, and tracking the movements of bandits and terrorists.’’
Furthermore, he emphasised the necessity of acquiring a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite capable of all-weather, day-and-night imaging, including cloud penetration. He underscored that inadequate security measures would hinder the country’s growth and development.
The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engineer Tasiu Gidaari, pointed out that the country faces a significant infrastructure deficit that has stunted its progress, among other challenges. He urged engineers to actively participate in Research and Development (R&D) and explore technologically driven innovations to address these issues. He also highlighted the NSE’s commitment to innovation, including the launch of the Smart Innovation Hub, and encouraged everyone to engage in R&D and the commercialisation of research efforts.
Addressing the audience virtually, Dr Halilu Shaba emphasised the critical role of space-based communication systems in providing secure and real-time communication for military forces, government agencies, and emergency responders. He highlighted the numerous advantages of space assets, including enhanced capabilities in weather forecasting, environmental monitoring, secured data transmission, and cybersecurity, among other vital functions. In addition, he highlighted that the Nigerian space industry had been instrumental in monitoring disasters like floods, oil spillage, and forest fires and managing post-disaster recovery, etc.
Furthermore, Dr Halilu Shaba proposed the implementation of strategic planning and investment, the practice of space diplomacy, the establishment of collaborative frameworks, international collaborative efforts, and the adoption of risk management and planning as essential measures to enhance the utilisation of space assets.
According to Dr Umar Abdullahi, National Chairman of NISEng, Nigeria must recognise the dual-use potential of its space assets and harness it for national growth. “Let us remember that our actions and decisions in space engineering have far-reaching implications for our nation’s security, prosperity and well-being. More so, let us strive to make Nigeria a spacefaring nation, not just for the advantage of science and engineering but also for national growth,’’ he concluded.
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