Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has reaffirmed the strategic and constitutional role of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) as the only Government Agency saddled with the core mandate to build and launch satellites for various applications in Nigeria. Presiding over the National Space Council (NSC) meeting at the statehouse in Abuja, President Buhari explained that the development of Space Science and Technology, particularly the launch of earth observation, communication and navigation satellites, remains the core mandate of the nation’s premier Space Agency. The President, doubling as Chairman of NSC, directed all stakeholders in the Space sector in Nigeria to strictly abide by the NASRDA Act 2010.
President Buhari also commended the efforts of NASRDA in taking giant strides in the field of space science and technology in Africa. He said the Space Agency has, over the years, shown a pivotal role in its deployment of expertise in the design, building and launch of Nigerian satellites. These include NigeriaSat -1, NigeriaSat–2, NigComSat-1R and most importantly, the NigeriaSat-X, which was designed and built to flight standard by Nigerian engineers and scientists. According to the President, Space Technology provides a new frontier for human development as a stimulant for increased technological advancement and economic innovation, which offers a unique platform for effective exploration and exploitation of natural resources and the protection of our environment.
In addition, President Buhari expressed his commitment to the space sector, describing it as the foundation for cybersecurity and a vibrant digital economy that is at the forefront of progress and development across the globe. He further pledged the support of the Government towards the success of the space programme, particularly in the provision of relevant resources needed for the growth and ultimate realization of the various mandates of the Nigeria Space Agency. The President also directed the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonanya Onu, to urgently prepare and submit to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval “a revised 25-year roadmap for the implementation of the National Space Policy.
In his contribution, Dr Ogbonanya Onu stated that Space Science and Technology is critical to nation-building and directly impacts all sectors of the economy. He also applauded NASRDA’s role in developing Space Science and Technology, which according to him, is the catalyst for the promotion of meaningful development and attainment of societal transformation. Additionally, Dr Onu Further stressed the need for the Space Agency to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to actualise its agenda, which seeks to promote the development of space capabilities that address the urgent needs of Nigerians. The minister also pledged his support for the Agency, especially in the area of effective policy formulation and implementation in line with its mandate at ensuring that both human and material resources are mobilized to realize its basic objectives for the overall benefits of Nigerians.
The Director-General of NASRDA, Dr Halilu Shaba, discussed the current status of NigeriaSat-2. He described it as still functioning effectively and supplying relevant data despite the need for its replacement as it has exceeded its designed lifespan in orbit. Furthermore, the NASRDA boss informed the meeting about the progress made on the building and launching of two essential satellites; the Synthetic Aperture Radar (Nigeria SAR -1) and an optical earth observation satellite (NigeriaSat-3). Both satellites will go a long way in providing relevant data, on mapping and geospatial information for decision-makers in addressing issues of urgent national importance like security and economy.
Dr Shaba thus appealed for intensified funding of the Agency’s activities to actualise the country’s technological advancement objectives. The Director-General also gave a detailed briefing on the Agency’s support to the Nigerian Armed forces, especially in their fight against terrorists, the provision of digital support for agriculture and population activities, and the distribution of infrastructure and projects monitoring.
The National Space Council oversees the activities of the National Space Agency, especially in the areas of policy development, national security and international space policy matters. The President and Vice-President are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, with the NASRDA Director-General as secretary and other members.
Faleti Joshua is an avid lover of space in all its incomprehensible nature. He holds both an LL.B and a B.L degree. Joshua is a lover of music and a lawyer in his free time.