By Emmanuel Elebeke.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says the Federal Government will increase investment in space science technology because of its tremendous benefit to the nation.
Onu disclosed this at the weekend during the commissioning ceremony of the Astronomy Observatory Complex of the Centre for Basic Space Science, in Ebirimiri, Agu Umakashi, Nsukka, Enugu State, over the weekend.
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Minister stated that the centre for basic science is keying into astronomy which will enhance the growth of gross domestic products (GDP) in areas such as medicine, manufacturing, education, agriculture, and communication.
Dr Onu said that the Federal Government’s decision to accord priority to space science development was to improve the quality of life of Nigerians, adding that space science technology will boost telemedicine, agriculture, and manufacturing, etc.
He also called on the Private Sector to take adequate advantage of these products that are coming out from these research centres for commercialization, that would be market driven across the country.
Onu reiterated the tremendous importance of space science technology in the development of our economy, to ensure the improvement of everyday life of an average Nigerian.
He explained that, through commercialisation of research findings, new products and services would be created for consumption by the Nigerian public and the world at large.
While saying that the Buhari administration is committed to making space science technology an important segment of the economy, he called on Nigerians to maximise the highest potentials in the space science technology sector to grow the economy, provide jobs, fight poverty and create wealth for the nation.
Dr Onu commended the National Space Research and Development Centre (NARSDA) for putting up a beautiful edifice for office accommodation and urged it to develop a programme for students of secondary and tertiary institutions to acquire knowledge in space science technology.
“We will also encourage all Nigerians at a tender age to develop an interest in space science technology,” he added.
The Minister said the products being produced at the centre would be useful in the aviation sector, adding that the collaboration between Research Centres and Universities should be strengthened.
“When universities and research centres work together, high investments would be maximised for the benefit of the country.”
The Ministry, he explained located the Centre for Basic Space Science close to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, so as to create a synergy between the two bodies, as well as build capacity and enhance positive outputs in the long run.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General/Chief Executive Natural Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA), Professor Saidu Mohammed, said the Centre was established to build capacity that would address the developmental needs of the country in several areas.
He said the construction of the Observatory Complex started 15 years ago and commended the present administration for seeing to its completion.
In his opening remarks, the Acting Director of the Centre, Dr Bonaventure Okere, said that the vision of the Centre was to play strategic roles in the development of space science and technology as a driving force and engine of economic growth and as a major ingredient for human resource and infrastructural development.