As Nigeria continues to battle insecurity, major stakeholders in the space technology sector are harping on the importance of utilizing space technology to enhance national security.
At the maiden edition of the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISE), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers’ interactive seminar in Abuja with the theme ‘Application of space technology: a tool for enhancing national security’, they said that utilizing space technology to solve the myriad of the nation’s security problems should be a must.
The Chief Of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, in his remarks, noted that national security involves the ability of the government to protect the state and its citizens from all forms of insecurity or threats by projecting the elements of national power, pointing out that space technology plays a vital role in confronting the challenges in this regard.
“We are all aware that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the security agencies have been in the forefront of tackling the numerous security challenges facing the country. They include terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herdsmen clashes, pipeline vandalism, kidnappings, armed banditry and cattle rustling. “The Nigerian army views space as the ultimate high ground from where land battles could be decisively influenced. In the same vein, we believe that space technology serves as a force multiplier. The opportunities offered by space technology in the areas of communication, remote sensing, weather forecasting, navigation, rocketry, cyber space, imageries to mention but a few could impact positively on the operations of the services and security agencies in tackling the threats against national security,” he said. The army chief pointed out that the application of space technology in the Nigerian army operations had been and will continue to be very useful in enhancing national security. He added that the existence of a national space programme is symbolic of a nation’s standing in the regional security setting and also an integral part of military calculations in international security. Buratai who was represented by the commander of Military Air Space Command, Col. Alban Chike Obi, called for the domestication of some aspects of space technology by developing indigenous applications, describing it as the only way Nigeria could shift focus from imported technologies and develop local contents towards enhancing its national security.
“As we deliberate on space technology issues, I implore us all to spare a thought for indigenous technology that could help us to gradually shift focus from imported technologies. It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari administration has constantly emphasized the need for local content in our daily businesses. Consequently, I urge all participants to factor in the importance of domesticating some aspects of space technology by developing indigenous applications. All innovations from the institution as contributions towards enhancing the national security of our country would be most welcomed,” he added.
In his address, the chairman of NISE, Dr Spencer Onuh said the use of space has become a crucial part of national security and international stability, insisting that in the present state of insecurity, Nigeria must of necessity adopt the utilization of space technology application in tackling the myriad of problems. According to him, integration of space capabilities into the various military functions will give the armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies an array of technological capabilities that facilitate superiority and giant adversaries in the battle ground.
“The increasing relevance of space technology development to states, which carry significant strategic, economic, and commercial implications, is a crucial issue in the national security of states. ‘‘It is high time the national security and economic policy makers considered space power issues as core strategic areas of interest,’’ he stated, adding Nigeria Sat-2 imageries and other technologies involving live camera monitoring devices such as close-circuit television, CCTV among others were helping to address the current security challenges. Earlier, the NSE president, Engr. Adekunle Mokoulu, who described space engineers as a unique breed of people, urged stakeholders to come up with smart solutions with space technology in addressing the cause of national insecurity in the country, urging them to redouble their efforts in making Nigeria a great nation again.
-Nkechi Isaac, Leadership