BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR.
Nigeria has begun lobby for the African Space Centre to be located on her shores.
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, made the position of the Federal Government known at the weekend, when he received the African Union Panel for the Assessment of selected African countries to host the African Space Centre.
Nigeria, Onu said, deserved to host the Centre in view of her pioneering role in space exploration, potential and resources as well as her financial contributions to the African Union.
He added that Nigeria had made giant strides in space development, adding that it was Nigeria space satellites that first alerted the United States of America on the hurricane Katrina that assailed the country in 2005.
Onu further told the panel that Nigeria had invested massively in capacity building of space professionals and would be too willing to share its technical know-how with other African countries.
According to him, space technology could address illegal migration across the Mediterranean, reduce poverty and contribute significantly to Africa’s development.
He therefore, urged African countries to invest in space technology so as to boost their economy, adding that the United States of America leveraged on space technology to develop her economy
The minister pointed out that space technology has vast untapped potentials which, if explored, could open a new window of opportunities for economic development of the African Continent.
“Our thrust has always been to domesticate our exploration in space science and technology to diversify our economy and boost our economic potentials”, he said.
He assured the panel on the resolve of Nigerian government to ensure the establishment of space centre in the country.
In his remarks, Prof. Chaabouni Mohammed, the Chairman of the African Panel for the Assessment of hosting of African Space Centre, stressed that space technology development represents the true power of any nation.
He added the panel would assess Nigeria’s application to host the African Space Centre using certain criteria, adding that the delegation would also inspect facilities on ground to enable the committee to determine the suitability of the country for the right.