The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has emphasized the need for the utilization and deployment of space capabilities in addressing border related security challenges which arise as a result of huge ungoverned spaces and porous borders in the country.
The NASRDA director-general, Dr. Halilu Shaba, stated this in his remarks at the annual Brig. Gen. Michael Agu (rtd) lecture organised by the Nigeria Institution of Space Engineers (NISE) with the theme – ‘Dominating ungoverned spaces and porous borders in Nigeria: Role, challenges and prospects of technologies’, yesterday in Abuja.
He called on stakeholders and other relevant government agencies to improve on border management which according to him, is a function of present government polices put in place to keep the border administration running smoothly.
Shaba said one critical factor that had not been addressed very often by policy makers in tackling the current security challenges confronting the country was how ungoverned spaces could be properly monitored and adequately managed.
He referred to ungoverned spaces as mainly the remotest peripheral areas bordered by different countries with little or no state presence, pointing out that the size of Nigeria’s borders makes it difficult for effective policing and management as a result of its mountainous nature or dense forests that cover the stretch.
The NASRDA boss, who stressed the need for unique solution to problems like insecurity said, in achieving better results, the border communities should be actively involved in the management of borders, and there should be a working synergy between relevant stakeholders who must have a common operational document to prevent overlap in operations.
In his remarks, the Kebbi State governor, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, appreciated the immense technological capabilities domiciled in the space agency and called for continuous government support for the agency in the actualization of its mandates.
Bagudu who was the special guest of honour on the occasion, emphasised the need for a working collaboration and collective mobilization of resources to curb the insecurity challenge that has threatened the territorial integrity of the country.
Saying science can foster proper understanding of issues, he explained that the problem could be conceptualised into social spheres that would serve as lasting solutions to the persistent security challenges in the country.
Tackling the menace of insecurity calls for the deployment of space technologies and capabilities, according to him.
Earlier, the national chairman, Nigeria Institution of Space Engineers, Engr. George Okpanachi, said the annual lecture was instituted some years back to honour the honouree for his contribution to the development of engineering and particularly space technology in the country.
He said the institution was committed to the growth of space technology in Nigeria and professional development of engineers in the sector.
He also expressed appreciation for the critical role of the space agency over the years in the development of space science and technology, and called the government and relevant stakeholders to continue to support the space industry in its quest to keep pace with international best practices.
In his contribution, Agu thanked the organisers of the event stating that such a development was timely and of great importance in nation building.
He explained that the use of space technology seemed to be the most sustainable and lasting solution to the security challenges confronting the country at the moment.
The use of satellites for monitoring activities in bordered areas, according to him, will be more feasible, where quick responses and actions can be administered in the case of combating or preventing imported cases of insecurity
He said the deployment of more satellites through strategic and optimized investments, synergy through continuous capacity building between NASRDA and other stakeholders, as well as commitment and information sharing among relevant agencies would enhance the dominance over ungoverned spaces, porous borders as well as solve the problem of insecurity facing the nation.