. The Federal Government is rolling out plans to use space technology to enhance national security, communication, industrialisation and sustained socio-economic development.
President Goodluck Jonathan made this known on Tuesday when he inaugurated a 13-member National Space Council (NSC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that given the critical place of space technology in national security, communication, industrialisation and sustained socio-economic development, the need to properly structure and drive the national space programme could not be over-emphasised.
“This informs why our administration has constituted this council with high calibre membership.
“We must evolve clear cut initiatives that will not only fast-track our industrialisation process, but one that will also see us, within the shortest possible period, to be able to build our own motor vehicles, our own boats and our own aircraft.
“We should also be able to launch our own satellite manufactured in Nigeria from a launch site in Nigeria on a launch vehicle made in Nigeria.”
Jonathan said this was a challenge not only to the members of the council, but to all Nigerians.
“We should rededicate ourselves to building a better, technologically advanced, stable and prosperous Nigeria for our children.”
He reiterated government’s unwavering commitment to the actualisation of the goal of the programme, and urged members of the Council to evolve measures that would enable the country to maximally benefit from the huge investments in the development of space technology.
The Council is chaired by the President, while Vice President Namadi Sambo is the deputy chairman.
Other members are the ministers of science and technology, communication technology, education, defence, interior and national planning.
The attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice; professors Elijah Mshelia, Vincent Olunloyo and Francesca Okeke, and the director-general, National Space Research and Development Agency, are also members of the Council.
The National Space Council is the apex body charged with the responsibility of developing policy guidelines for the country’s activities in space, in addition to monitoring the implementation of the National Space Programme. (NAN)