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Foreigners Control 97% of Satellite Technology in Africa

Justin Anumiri

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Prof. Seidu Onailo Mohammed, the Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has disclosed that 97% of the Satellite Technology in Africa were owned by foreign based organisations.  He described the situation as disturbing.

These foreign companies according to Prof. Seidu are making millions of dollars as gains from the African satellite technology. Their gain from this sector as he revealed is more than the annual budget of some African countries. He explained that investing in space technology could give large economic development to any country.

He attributed the development and breakthroughs in developed countries like the US as well as emerging countries like India to satellite technology. He said that Nigeria was wise to embrace space technology even though she started late.

He beckoned on space industry’s stakeholders to take advantage of the success made by the agency in capturing Africa’s communication, broadband markets and broadcast with her satellite technologies. The economy of Nigeria according to him would be improved if they abide by his advice.

The statement containing these words of Prof Mohammed was signed by Deputy Director of Media and Communications of NASRDA, Mr. Felix Ale. Quoting Prof Tunji Ibiyemi, a Don of the University of Ilorin, Mr. Felix said that the government should as soon as possible give NASRDA back the management of Nigerian Communication Satellite (NigComSat-1R) because it is the original parent body.

Prof Ibiyemi regrettably mentioned that the NigComSat-1R has not made any impact in the life of the people since it was launched successful 42 months ago. He said that the satellite has not been fully used owing to incompetence as well as improper supervision and commitment by NigComSat leadership.

According to him, in compliance with global practice, the communication satellite should be NASRDA’s commercial arm. The university don said that it would not be possible for the communication satellite to realise its goals originally planned by NASRDA if it is under the management of another agency.

Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology in her remarked described the space technology as an indication of the power of a nation.

She highlighted the need for Nigeria to embrace space technology as emerging economy in order to facilitate her aspiration of realizing a viable socio-economic status as a country and also to boost its image in the comity of nations with space capabilities across the globe.