Muhammad Buhari, Nigerian President

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has urged the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology to submit a revised version of the country’s National Space Policy to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval.

The Nigerian National Space Policy, which was launched in May 2000, has a 25-year road map designed to achieve the development of Space Science and Technology in the country through research and development, capacity-building in various fields of engineering, space science, law, and administration.

At the onset, the policy was to aid the attainment of space capabilities as an essential tool for the socio-economic development of the nation and the advancement of the quality of life for Nigerians, in a tripartite focuses on building a Nigerian satellite, launching the satellite in Nigeria, and the pursuit of indigenous creation of rockery vehicle that Nigeria will use for the launch of the spacecraft.

The indication for a review of the policy was signaled about one year ago.

President Buhari gave life to this on Thursday when he met with members of the National Space Council of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) at the State House in Abuja.

The President described Space science as the foundation of cyber security and a vibrant digital economy.

“No doubt Space is providing a new frontier for human development. As a stimulus for increased technological advancement and economic innovation, outer space offers a unique challenge and platform for effective exploration and exploitation of our natural resources and the protection of our environment,” the President stated in a statement on Thursday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He added that space technology remains the foundation for cyber security and a vibrant digital economy.

While acknowledging the level of expertise acquired by Nigerians in the field of Space Science and Technology over the last twenty-one 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, President Buhari said, “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 a direct charge to the space management authorities, he said, “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.”

Meanwhile, he has asked the Nigerian Space Development Agency to engage in partnerships with other relevant stakeholders and the private sector to achieve its objectives.

While commending the country’s space agency for the satellites already launched, the President charged the Chief Executive Officer to do more.

NigeriaSat-1 just before its launch into space in 2003

Nigeria has launched not less than four satellites into space the launch of the space programme about 21 years ago. These include NigeriaSat-1, NigeriaSat-2, Nigcomsat-1R and NigeriaSat-X.

The president singled out NigeriaSat-X designed and built to flight standards by Nigerian engineers and scientist.

“I expect you to drive your team towards the attainment of these goals which deepens your relevance in our national construct, while inspiring millions of our Youth to explore the opportunities in this field.”

The Chief Executive Officer/ Director General of NASRDA, Dr Halilu Ahmed 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 on Optical Earth Observation Satellite (NigeriaSat-3) craved for intensified funding of the agency’s activities in order to achieve the set objectives.

He also gave a detailed briefing on how the agency is supporting the country’s Military in the fight against terrorists, through geovisualisation of terrorist activities, provision of digital support for agriculture and several other capabilities in population activities, distribution of infrastructure and projects monitoring.

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