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Retired Officer Urges Nigerian Military To invest In Space Technology, R&D

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Retired AVM Victor Udoh has urged the Armed Forces to invest more in technology, Research and Development (R&D) and training of personnel to be able to harness the benefits of space technology.

Udoh, who is also the Head, Airbus Defense and Space in Nigeria, made the call in Abuja at the Second Annual Lecture organised by the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISE).

The annual with the theme: “The Role of Nigeria Security Agencies for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space”, was held in honour of retired Brig. Gen. Micheal Agu, a renowned engineer and the pioneer chairman of the institution.

Udoh said that although space was a free platform for citizens to use but should not be deployed into disturbing the peace of the nation.

“Outer space is not a place of sovereignty. Outer space can be used within the ambit of the law for military activities.

“The law prohibits keeping weapon of mass destruction or any nuclear weapon establishing military formations in space but assets like satellites that can be used for surveillance, intelligence, imagery and can be put in space for positive use.

“The Nigerian military should train more officials to utilise these assets to solve our security challenges.
“We have various security challenges which technology and intelligence will solve.

“The role of the armed forces is to invest more in technology and train personnel to harness these assets,” he said.

“Space is not cheap, it is expensive to go out there in space and we must invest in the assets as well as the human beings themselves because any weapon is as good as the man behind it,’’ he said.

Udoh said that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed that very little went into technology, Research and Development (R&D), compared to other developed nations.

He however expressed delight at the progress that the country was making in developing technology, adding that the Defence Headquarters was putting measures in place to establish an R&D outfit to boost intelligence among officers.

Prof. Seidu Mohammed, the Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) said that space technology over decades had impacted on the society.

Mohammed said that the agency was engaging young engineers in the training, designing and manufacturing of Nigerian satellites for sustainability of space technology.

He recalled that NASRDA engineers designed a Nano-Satellite in 2017 with features to handle environmental issues, adding that they were also working on developing another one with infrarred features to focus on agriculture.

The President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, said that there was need for remote sensing in the application of handling security issues.

According to Mokuolu, space technology has the potential to help Nigeria achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Spencer Onuh, the National Chairman of NISE, earlier in his opening remarks recalled that the UN established the UN Office for Outer Space (UNOSA) in 1967 to provide equal access to the outer space.

Onuh said that the Outer Space Treaty (OST) was signed by UN member states and the treaty binds on parties utilising space for peaceful purposes.

He, however, noted that the first president of the institution deserved the honour because he initiated the formation of the Space, Engineering Division which resulted into the establishment of NISE.

Prof. Turner Isoun, former Minister of Science and Technology, said that space technology was very strategic in many aspects of the economy.

“Space technology is strategic in many sectors of our country like in agriculture, communications, navigation, and so we must deploy best minds and best technology to upgrade our domestic product.

“For instance, the communication sector for many years was not contributing to the GDP but today ICT sector is contributing almost 10 per cent.

“Satellite technology is very critical and more importantly, it is the frontier of technology and Nigeria should be there in order to increase the economy and protect security.”

Isoun called on Nigerians to repose confidence in the country’s satellite and ensure patronage accordingly.

Agu, on his part expressed gratitude for the lecture organised in his honour, adding that he had been involved in the space sector for some time.

“No security outfit can handle security challenges alone and with collaboration, coordination, issues of insecurity will be surmounted,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the event was held on Thursday concurrently with the first Conferment of Fellowship Awards of some members of the institution.

The engineers are Yusuf Mshelia, Ibrahim Mohammed and Brig. Gen. Micheal Agu received fellowship awards, while Prof. Seidu Mohammed of NASRDA and Air Vice Marshal Victor Udoh received honourary awards from NISE.


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