The Federal Government has said that a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite being built by Nigeria will be used for security purposes, particularly the monitoring of the oil-rich coastal areas of the Niger Delta.
Dr. Abdu Bulama, Minister of Science and Technology, dropped the hint when Dr. Andrew Pocock, British High Commissioner to Nigeria and his team visited him in Abuja recently.
Bulama told the British envoy that the Ministry through one of its agencies, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) is developing a Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite, “which will be helpful in the area of security, mapping out our solid minerals deposit and, also to monitor the coastal areas of Niger Delta.”
[su_quote cite=”Dr Abdu Bulama, Minister of Science and Technology”]The establishment of the National Research Council as an apex body for the coordination of all research activities in the country will draw support from the West African Science Innovation Network when it is put in place[/su_quote]
When completed, the SAR satellite will be the country’s next foray into space after three other previous efforts by space agencies in Nigeria, according to a statement by the Ministry after the visit.
According to the Minister, Nigeria’s Space Technology Programme has come of age as the country has launched three satellites in the past which was supported by Britain.
This time around, Bulama solicited for collaborative support from Britain to fully develop and leverage on some key components of what he cites as Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda as they affect Science and Technology in the areas of Space Technology Programme, Biotechnology, Agriculture and Medicine.
“Nigeria’s existing and fruitful partnership with Britain over the years” according to the Minister, “has been beneficial and has yielded positive impacts.”
Benefits that accrued from these mutual ties has encouraged the Minister to seek the need for consolidation and improvement to help the Ministry in particular, “to achieve full implementation of its new revised policy on Science, Technology and Innovation.”
“We want to partner with you in the area of Science, Technology and Innovation which is our statutory mandate as a Ministry”, the Minister told the visiting envoy.
The Ministry will leverage on the offer by the British Government through its Newton Fund, which supports research and development outputs in the sector, the Minister added.
Bulama also called on the British Government to implement a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries to establish a West African Science Innovation Network in Abuja.
The establishment of the National Research Council as an apex body for the coordination of all research activities in the country will draw support from the West African Science Innovation Network when it is put in place, according to the Minister.
In the area of commercialisation of the research and development results (R&D), which are useful to industries, the Minister said, funding in this area would strengthen the research institutes to achieve a lot.
Oh his part, the British High Commissioner, Dr. Andrew Pocock said he was in the Ministry with his team to seek for Nigeria to be an active partner in Science and Technology like South Africa has been.
He said the British Government has committed about $750 million in the Isaac Newton’s Fund to support research and development.
Pocock said his home government’s will assist Nigeria to achieve its programmes in the areas of Space Technology, Biotechnology, solid minerals and agriculture.
According to the envoy, the British Satellite Technology Limited would equally support the Space Programme of Nigeria as it is currently developing its new Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite.