The federal government is mapping out plans on how to take maximum advantage of space technology development in enhancing national security, communications, industrialisation and sustained socio-economic development.
President Goodluck Jonathan gave this indication at the State House, Abuja Tuesday, when he inaugurated a 13-member National Space Council (NSC), which would be the highest policy making body on space development in the country.
Headed by himself with the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, as his second-in-command, the committee has other members, which included the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd); and three professors, who the president described as professionals, who “have reached the peak of their academic profession.”
The three professors are: Professors Vincent Olunloyo, recipient of the 1998 Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA); Elijah Mshelia, fellow, Nigeria Science Academy (NSA) and Fransisca Okeke, UNESCO’s 2013 laureate for her contribution to the understanding of daily variations of the ion currents in the upper atmosphere.
Others are the ministers of Mines, Alhaji Muhammad Sada; Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I; Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa; National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman; Interior, Comrade Abba Moro; Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson and Defence (State), Mrs. Olusola Obada.
Director General of the Nigerian Space Research and Developing Agency (NSRDA), Dr. Saidu O. Mohammed, was also named as a member.
After the inauguration, the committee went into a closed door session, where President Jonathan charged the council, to also come up with an action plan that would enable the country utilise space technology to accelerate industrial development quickly, so that Nigeria will not only venture into space but also manufacture boats, aircrafts and other things.
“We must evolve clear cut initiatives that will not only fast track our industrialisation process but one that will also see us within the shortest possible period to be able to build our own motor vehicles, our own boats and our own aircrafts and of course launch our own satellite manufactured in Nigeria, from a launch site in Nigeria on a launch vehicle made in Nig.
By Muhammad Bello