Stakeholders Applaud NASRDA On Positive Drive Towards Composite Research

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L-R: The head, media and corporate communications, Dr. Felix Ale, director-general, Dr. Halilu Shaba and coordinator, Advanced Space Composite Laboratory, Dr. Kayode Odimayomi all of the National Space Research and Development Agency during the stakeholders’ workshop in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Stakeholders in the space sector have lauded the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) for the establishment of the Advanced Aerospace Composite Laboratory and other laboratories geared toward composite research in the sector. 

This was made known recently in Ilorin, Kwara State, by the permanent secretary to the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, Mrs. Monilola Udoh, during a two-day National Composites Stakeholder Workshop themed “Effective Applications of Composites in Aerospace and Allied Industries in Nigeria”.

She restated the Federal Government’s commitment to attaining capabilities in composite research and development to harness the enormous potential of technological resources for sustainable development of the nation.

In a statement by NASRDA’s spokesperson, Dr. Felix Ale, the permanent secretary who commended the space agency on its numerous achievements in composite research and development which has culminated in hosting the first edition of the composite workshop pointed out that there is no better time than now for the nation to consider research and innovation as a frontier of development in all spheres of life.

According to her, research and development have continued to sustain human existence, with composite research materials having large-scale applications in civil, medical, marine, defence, satellite development, rock science and commercial aerospace industry.

She explained that the advantages of composites which include their lightweight, aesthetics, flexibility and strength, make them an alternative to steel, as their adaptability to any weather conditions and non-corrosive nature are added advantages.

Represented by her technical assistance, Dr. Patricks Oghuma, Udoh highlighted the importance of the workshop and called on participants to engage in robust discussions that will develop a strategic plan and framework for composite parts manufacturing in line with global best practices for the economic benefit of the country.

She further assured the stakeholders of immense support and necessary approval of decisions reached that will benefit both the government and private sector.

The chairman of the occasion and vice chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulayman Age while delivering his speech said, although the nation’s focus has been on the importation of services that have had a negative impact on the economy, the workshop presented the opportunity to harness the potentials in composites by focusing on strengthening capacities, improve on methodologies as well as ensure that the goals on composites’ development and applications are achieved.

He said the local content development policy of the government would stem importations and develop local content in technological innovations for improvement and sustainability of the nation’s economy.

An inventor showcasing his innovation to participants during the stakeholders’ workshop in Ilorin, Kwara State

The vice chancellor urged participants to exchange experiences and insights that would successfully set the pace by not only thinking of what is presently being done in the sector but on how to proffer solutions on the way forward.

In his opening remarks, the director-general of the National Space and Development Agency, Dr. Halilu Shaba described the workshop as “timely” and would “readily address” the critical area of creating a composite professional body to adequately cater for the policy development needs of composites aerospace and allied products in Nigeria.

This, according to him, will aid in the realisation of the 2030 sustainable development goals.

The NASRDA boss said composite research is not new but the realisation of its capabilities is infantile both to the academia and private sector, as the space agency is prepared to bring the world to Nigeria given the peculiarity of natural fibre in the country.

According to him, composite research has a wide range of applications, as it is an alternative to metal alloys and other engineering materials, due to its lightweight, anti-corrosive nature, stiffness and improved toughness, as well as cost-effectiveness.

He called the participants “like-minds and stakeholders” who should champion a common front for the actualisation of a composite development professional body in Nigeria.

Shaba assured that the agency will reach out to new partners at home and abroad and re-engage retired experts in composite research and development to innovate and build trust across the special sector.

The coordinator of the Advanced Space Composite Laboratory of the Agency, Dr. Kayode Odimayomi said the laboratory is set to bring together universities, polytechnics and private developers to form a national body that will pursue the processes in a bid to take Nigeria from an engineering or technology consumer to a key player development production of composite materials for aerospace, automobile, marine, biomedical and across construction.

He said although composite research and development have been domiciled in academia, the private sector’s recent advance into it has made a huge impression, especially in automobiles and aviation.

Odimayomi further pointed out that the academia, private sectors and investors can always consult with the university, polytechnics, private sector or government through the space agency to ensure that composites are put together to develop from the experimental level down to the production level.

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