President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, to prepare and submit a revised 25-year roadmap for the implementation of the National Space Policy to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval.
He gave the directive at a meeting with members of the National Space Council of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) at the State House today (June 24) in Abuja, describing the space sector as the foundation of cyber security and a vibrant digital economy.
Saying the space is providing a new frontier for human development, the president explained that as a stimulus for increased technological advancement and economic innovation, outer space offered a unique challenge and platform for effective exploration and exploitation of our natural resources and the protection of our environment.
“I also acknowledge the huge human resources already acquired by Nigeria in the field of space science and technology over the last 21 years and the need for the country to put in place the necessary infrastructure required for the actualization of the goals and objectives of our National Space Policy and Programme.
“Being the recipient of very strong government support, I also must task you with the mandate of working with other agencies and components of government on how you could best utilize the tools at your disposal in resolving some of those critical issues that confront us as a country; issues regarding security, improved communication and digital penetration and importantly, agriculture.
“In line with the implementation of the National Space Policy and Programme, I hereby also direct that the revised 25-year Roadmap for the Implementation of the National Space Policy be reviewed and updated and then forwarded to Federal Executive Council, for consideration and approval.
He urged the agency to engage in partnerships with other relevant stakeholders and the private sector to achieve its objectives:
“Additionally, you should seek to explore useful collaboration with the private sector on how you can best commercialize some of your output in furtherance of our objectives.
“The present administration is committed to developing our society by engaging relevant human resources for the socio-economic improvement of our nation. We shall be steadfast in providing the required support towards the success of the space programme as well as relevant resources needed for its growth and successful realization of the mandates of the nation’s space agency,” he further stated.
While commending NASRDA for the satellites already launched, Buhari charged the chief executive officer of the agency to do more.
“I am very proud of the strides we have achieved with the launch of NigeriaSat-1, NigeriaSat-2, Nigcomsat-1R and NigeriaSat-X. Of tremendous interest to me is NigeriaSat-X which was designed and built to flight standards by our engineers and scientist.
“I expect you to drive your team towards the attainment of these goals which deepen your relevance in our national construct, while inspiring millions of our youth to explore the opportunities in this field,” he added.
The director-general of NASRDA, Dr. Halilu Shaba who updated the meeting on the status of the NigeriaSat-2 and the progress made on building and launching of a synthetic aperture radar (Nigeria SAR-1) and an optical earth observation satellite (NigeriaSat-3) craved for intensified funding of the agency’s activities in order to achieve the set objectives.
A statement by the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said Shaba also gave a detailed briefing on the agency’s support to the military in the fight against terrorists, the “geovisualisation” of terrorist activities; providing digital support for agriculture and several other capabilities in population activities, distribution of infrastructure and projects’ monitoring.