The Federal Government will increase its investment in space technology because of its tremendous benefits to the nation, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said.
Onu said this during the inauguration of Astronomy Observatory Complex of the Centre for Basic Space Science in Nsukka, Enugu State, according to statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday by Assistant Chief Information Officer in the ministry, Henrietta Okokon.
The minister said that the Centre for Basic Science was keying into astronomy which would enhance the growth of Gross Domestic Product in areas such as medicine, manufacturing, education, agriculture and communication.
Onu said that the Federal Government’s decision to accord priority to space science development was to improve the quality of life of Nigerians, adding that space science technology would boost telemedicine, agriculture and manufacturing.
He called on the private sector to take adequate advantage of the products that were coming out from research centres for commercialisation and reiterated the tremendous importance of space science technology in the development of the economy.
The minister explained that through commercialisation of research findings, new products and services would be created for consumption by the Nigerian public and the world at large.
Onu said that the Buhari administration was committed to making space science technology an important segment of the economy and called on Nigerians to maximise the potential in the space science technology sector to grow the economy, provide jobs, fight poverty and create wealth for the nation.
He commended the National Space Research and Development Centre for putting up a beautiful edifice for office accommodation for the centre and urged it to develop a comprehensive programme for students of secondary and tertiary institutions to acquire knowledge in space science technology.
“We will also encourage all Nigerians at a tender age to develop interest in space science technology,” he added.
The minister said the products of the centre would be useful in the aviation sector, adding that the collaboration between research centres and universities should be strengthened.
The ministry, he explained, located the Centre for Basic Space Science close to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to create a synergy between the two bodies as well as build capacity and enhance positive outputs in the long run.
In his welcome address, the Director-General/Chief Executive of NARSDA, Prof Saidu Mohammed, said the centre was established to build capacity that would address the development needs of the country in several areas.
He said the construction of the observatory complex started 15 years ago and commended the present administration for seeing to its completion.
Acting Director of the centre,Dr Bonaventure Okere, said that the vision of the centre was to play strategic role in the development of space science and technology as a driving force and engine of economic growth.
Everest Amaefuli, Punch