By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The Nigerian Institute of Space Engineers (NISE) has called on the Federal Government to provide more earth observation satellites to aid national security and socio-economic development.
Dr Sadiq Umar, the National Chairman of NISE made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the institute’s Third Annual Lecture held in honour of Brig.-Gen. Michael Agu (Rtd), the pioneer chairman of NISE.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the lecture focuses on “Remote Sensing Technology and National Security’’.
Umar said the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is making progress securing lives and properties, but more could be achieved if the country leverage on satellite technology.
He said the available earth observation satellites were not sufficient in providing data for national security and economic development.
“For Nigeria to be where it needs to be, we need to have more satellites providing data that will help government address our security problems.
“Nigeria Sat 1 was designed and built in Surrey, South-East England in 2003 and the lifespan of a satellite is eight years maximum, therefore, we should be thinking of having its replacement.
“Till date, we don’t have a replacement for Sat 1, meaning that the satellite cannot provide data.
“The country should recognise the importance of space application, space technology which is important in boosting the economy in the areas of security, productivity, food security, among other issues.
“Currently, we only have Nigeria Sat 2 and Nigeria Sat X that can give data,” Umar said.
He said other satellites owned by the country were for communication and provision of bandwidth data, but not remote sensing data.
The NISE chairman said the institute and the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) are working with the Federal Government to replace the almost outlived satellites before their expiration.
Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, President NSE recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in his second term inaugural speech had said that “with good leadership Nigerians could be lifted from poverty’’.
Mokuolu urged the government to leverage on space satellite technology to achieve the goal adding that the country has the human capacity and expertise to develop the industry.
Prof. Joseph Akinyede, the Director Space Application Centre, Ile-Ife, who delivered a lecture at the event said Nigeria is facing security threat which could be addressed with advance technology. .
The director said that remote sensing has the capacity to address security threats, food insecurity, flood disaster, pipeline vandalism, others, if properly harnessed.
“The military also need remote sensing using satellite technology to fight the modern warfare and defend our porous territories.
“We can use satellite technology to map the pattern of groups, individuals that are threats to the nation and address them accordingly,’’ he said.
Dr Halilu Shaba,the Acting Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) said the agency would work with relevant stakeholders to ensure national security.