Satellite technology has been described as a veritable panacea for the various problems facing humans, as well as a basic tool for an economically viable nation.
This remark was made by Director-General of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Professor Seidu Mohammed, at a special ceremony marking the third anniversary of NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X codenamed N2 and NX in Abuja.
According to him, the launch of N2 and NX on August 17, 2014 remained a major breakthrough for science and technology not only in Nigeria, but Africa as a whole; particularly NX, which was designed, built and launched by Nigerian engineers using the Surrey Satellite technology facilities in the United Kingdom (UK).
He said no nation could boast of any meaningful development without engaging space science and technology, stressing that satellite technology was currently the driving force of developed economies.
While assessing the various achievements of N2 and NX, Professor Mohammed reiterated the benefit of satellites stating that “NX is a pride to Nigeria and dear to the heart of NASRDA as it serves as proof of Nigeria’s capability in satellite design, if the necessary infrastructures are made available.”
Also speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, represented by Dr Gwasa, a director in the ministry, in his goodwill message, said the space agency was a pride to the ministry and remained a core of the activities of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
He therefore congratulated the agency on the third year anniversary of NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriSat-X which, according to him, placed Nigeria in the realm of countries currently engaging the satellite technology.
While calling on the Agency not to rest on it oars, Dr. Gwasa applauded the agency’s contribution to security, agriculture and the various collaborations with research institutes, and international agencies.
In his presentation, the President of the African University of Science and Technology, Professor Wole Soboyejo called on NASRDA to take up the various opportunities that exist in space science technology.
He said there is need to harness the enormous opportunities that exist in satellite technology by becoming a leader in space along with South Africa by using her satellites to meet the need of Africans.
Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, a guest speaker at the event stressed the need for building Public Private Partnership in the space programme. In his presentation, he said science does not make impact without money and inventions that do not reach the market cannot be called innovations; therefore science needs private partnership to promote innovations. He said the indigenous production of satellites will provide opportunities in broadband telecommunication sector, thereby overcoming present challenges in the sector.
He stressed that a solid public private partnership will among other things reduce broadband cost, provide jobs and reduce dependence on crude oil. He further opined that although Nigeria is still at the level of consumerism and not an active participant in space technology, there is the existence of an untapped market in space technology.
The U.S based Professor encouraged the agency to pursue partnership with market players in technology and finance to license, produce and commercialize satellites for Nigeria and Africa. He said that execution of this commercial strategy will enhance productivity and translate to financial empowerment that will further make the Nigerian Space programme thrive on its own.