The Kebbi state Governor, Atiku Bagudu, has been awarded as the first national space ambassador.
The award was conferred on him by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) on Thursday at the 2021 Space Dialogue/National Media Conference on Space Science, Technology and Innovation with the theme: “Effective Utilisation, Promotion and Reporting of Space Science, Technology and Innovation in Post COVID-19 Era,” in Abuja.
According to the director general NASRDA Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba, the award was in recognition of the governor’s support towards the development of space science and technology in his state especially in boosting agricultural activities.
He said, “NASRDA remains enduringly committed in her determination to fulfil her mandate, by deploying capabilities in Space Science and Technology for the enhancement and realisation of a better life for the ordinary Nigerian.
“We want to assure you that we are still committed and on the right path to our 25-year roadmap as approved by the Federal Executive Council.”
Shaba said the Agency is committed to propagating space capabilities to keep the nation and the public abreast of the benefits of space applications.
Receiving the award, the governor said the nation is blessed with an array of scientists capable of making a change in space science and technology.
“Nigeria has lots of scientists that need to be encouraged in development of the space industry. We also need to create synergy among agencies involved in space applications because there are government research institutions that work in silos and their work is not recognised. We also need to bring these agencies to relate with the private sector for better development,” he said.
He promised to make use of the ambassadorial position to engage sectors in his state, like in agriculture, health, education, among others for better space applications. Adding that, he would motivate other states to collaborate with the space agency on space applications.
Earlier, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, urged stakeholders in the space industry and the media to prioritise reporting space, Science and Technology activities in the country for socio-economic development.
Onu who was represented by the Minister of State, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi said the FG had made huge efforts towards ensuring the growth of space technology in the country.
He said that the gap between developed countries and the under-developed ones was their ability to deploy digitisation, Science and Technology for their development.
Also speaking, the Head, Media and Corporate Communications of NASRDA Dr. Felix Ale urged for media cooperation for space programmes propagation.
“We urge the media to continue in the publicity of the space programmes for the good of the society as it is for the socio-economic development of the nation.”
The Guest Speaker at the event, the National Defence College Commandant, Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, called on the government not to spare any effort in committing resources towards space, science
Daji, while focusing on “Maximising Space Science Technology and Innovations for Enhanced Human Security in the Post COVID-19 Era,” said space was the frontier to developing any sector.
According to him, application of space, science and technology is a major way nations of the world measure developments.