Abuja (NAN) â€“ The Minister of Science and Technology, Abdu Bulama, said on Tuesday in Abuja that Nigeria would design, fabricate, test and launch its indigenous satellite by 2018.
Bulama stated this when he inspected facilities at the Obasanjo Space Centre of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
The minister said the centre had the mandate to launch Nigeriaâ€™s first indigenous satellite by 2018, and described space science and technology programme as an important component of the Nigerian dream.
According to him, the satellite program has a very positive role to play in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s administration.
Bulama directed that the assembly, testing and integration centre, and the Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite, which are under construction, be completed by 2015.
â€œThe Assembly, Testing and Integration Centre, and the Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite are the nucleus of NASRDA.
â€œIt is here that we will, by the grace of God, launch our first made in Nigeria satellite by 2018.
â€œBy 2018, by the grace of God, we want to see made-in-Nigeria satellite launched. It will be built in this laboratory and launched by our Nigerian scientists,â€ he said.
According to him, competence and capabilities in satellite technology serve as tool for national growth and a huge contribution to the development and benefit of mankind.
Earlier, the Director-General of NASRDA, Seidu Mohammed, who conducted Bulama round the facilities, said the agency could boast of world-class technology in terms of facilities.
Mohammed said that the about six million U.S. dollars (about N1 billion) annual budgetary allocation to NASRDA was inadequate, given the huge development expected of the agency.
The director-general also said that no serious country allocates less than 100 million U.S. dollars to its space agency.
According to him, NASRDA pays N1.6 million monthly to an Israeli company to maintain facilities at one of the centres of the agency, and also spends 100 pounds servicing its two dishes.
He said the Emergency Management Project of the agency could be used in tracking kidnapped victims, car theft, pipeline vandalization, fire outbreak, flood and accidents.