A former director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Prof. Seidu Mohammed has called for the deployment of space technologies in addressing the security issues around the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking to Science Nigeria, Mohammed, who contested Kogi State gubernatorial election of 2019 said the Gulf of Guinea was a prospective landmark for the development of West Africa if only the opportunities could be effectively harnessed and harmonized for the betterment and development of countries around the gulf.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari administration for embarking on numerous developmental projects across the federation particularly the recent intervention in the security of the Gulf of Guinea which was brought about by illegal activities especially of fishing vessels from Europe and Asia.
He recommended the urgent need for the ‘design, build and launch’ of a constellation of four micro synthetic aperture radar satellites with capabilities to provide adequate data on both legal and illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea, in support of NIMASA and all security agencies and other stakeholders in the gulf.
Mohammed advised the Federal Government against depending on satellite data provided by countries that are suspected to be involved in the illegal activities in the region, saying such a tendency would be a mockery of the nation’s capability in the space sector and waste of the country’s resources.
“I can recall a particular incidence when I served as the director-general of NASRDA that led the Nigerian delegation on a cross exposure tour and presented a graphical display on the floor of the United Nations (UN) committee on peaceful use of outer space in Vietnam, in 2016. The purpose of our recommendation was to identify space technology as a key factor in providing relevant data and enhancing intelligence in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
The former NASRDA boss explained that his team observed numerous illegal activities involving vessels from Europe and Asia which is affecting ECOWAS’ goal of protecting the economic wealth of West African states.
He also counseled government to legitimately empower NASRDA by providing it the needed logistics to lead other relevant agencies in ECOWAS countries in providing improved surveillance in this region for a better derivation of economic benefits for the growth and development of the African sub-region.