By Stanley Iwuoha
The Federal Government says the ongoing investments in the space science will lead to economic rejuvenation.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu disclosed this at the ground breaking ceremony of the zonal Advanced Space Technology Applications laboratory in Ndufe Anike in Ebonyi State at the weekend.
According to Dr. Onu, investment in Space Science and Technology will positively address environmental, security, research, economic, health and other challenges confronting the nation.
He reiterated government’s determination to utilize space science and technology to improve the living standard of Nigerians as well as accelerate the pace of socio-economic development of the country.
“If we look at all emerging technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Nanotechnologies, etc. – all these technologies are embedded in space science and technology” he added.
He further said “Space science and technology affect the way we live; it impacts agriculture, energy, commerce, research. In short, all vital areas of our economy depend on Space Science and Technology”.
The location of the Space laboratory in Ebonyi State, he added, will serve as focal point for space applications research and development in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
The Minister further said that when completed, the laboratory will provide conducive atmosphere for scientific research.
“It will also be of immense benefits to the university community, other tertiary institutions, secondary schools, security agencies, environmental researchers and experts, boundary commissions, the government and the entire people of Ebonyi State and South East in general” Dr. Onu added.
He said Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in space exploration as many technological and scientific advances that had provided benefits to humanity were due to investment in space science and technology. Dr. Onu was optimistic that space science and technology will contribute to Nigeria’s economic recovery, create employment opportunities and make Nigeria stand tall among the comity of nations.
He added that despite the parlous state of the economy, President Muhammadu Buhari at resolved to assist and boost funding for the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
In his own speech, the Acting DG of NARSDA, Dr. Francis Dubem Chizea said the laboratory will help in advancing the use of Geospatial technology in the South-East.
He further said that the laboratory is invoking peaceful uses of space products through research and applications of geospatial technology in disaster risk zones mapping, identification and inventory of mining induced land degradation, health facilities studies and land cover mapping for natural resources inventory and commended the Minister for according top priority to Nigeria’s space programme.