By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISEng) on Tuesday inaugurated its sixth national president, Dr George Okpanachi, and called for a specialized reconnaissance satellite to ensure national security.
The inauguration took place alongside a one-day public conference on “Space Technology and National Security: Opportunities and Limits” in Abuja.
Professor Lazarus Ojigi, director of mission planning informatics and data management at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), was the guest speaker.
He said space technology has become the driving force behind the scientific, socio-economic, military and intelligence supremacy of the developed countries of the world.
Ojigi said national security is first and foremost about national security with food, economic, social, physical, energy, environmental, border and cyber security as its components.
A reconnaissance satellite or intelligence satellite (spy satellite) is an Earth observation satellite or a communication satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications.
“We need to deploy a dedicated satellite, a reconnaissance satellite that will help the armed forces detect dangerous places.
“We need to invest in satellite infrastructure, ground segment infrastructure; you don’t have to have a satellite just to collect information on orbiting satellites.
“Having the ground segment will help us subscribe and optimize; you will have enough information for your security agencies and that information is encrypted for them to use.
“We also need to develop our inertial navigation system (INS) and our guidance; it means we need to be able to detect where criminals are using global navigation techniques added to INS techniques, ”Ojigi said.
He added that the country needs to invest in infrastructure across Nigeria, train the workforce and establish a level of trust with confidential security information.
He said there was a need to increase the number of communication satellites to improve surveillance.
“Now we have a communications satellite and the proposal is to have three prototypes to create an overlap to cover the whole world.
“With this architecture, Nigeria will not only provide satellite signals, but also telecommunications, internet and augmentation services in Africa and other parts of the world.
He added that if the country could not provide three communications satellites, it could optimize the available satellite.
According to him, it is better to scale the satellite asset and get better services.
Okpanachi, in his remarks, said he will galvanize relevant stakeholders in the space sector, the National Assembly and agencies to secure the necessary support for NASRDA and Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited.
He expressed hope that NISEng would move forward to compete with other engineering organizations in the country in the future.
“We will make courtesy visits to the relevant agencies and let them know that we have the capacity to deliver if we receive the necessary assistance, particularly the funding aspect.
“If we are well funded with the capacity and the capability, this can help address security challenges and this includes having more satellites in space, synthetic aperture satellites, drones and cubic satellites. “, did he declare.
Dr Sadiq Umar, the outgoing president of NISEng, encouraged the incumbent and its executive members to lobby for the institution to participate in the group dynamics competition for all divisions of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
He also called on new coxswains to make the institution stand out.
Umar said he was grateful to have enjoyed the great support of the outgoing president as vice president and other past presidents during his term from 2019 to 2020.
He, however, encouraged his colleagues and stakeholders in the space industry to provide the same support to Okpanachi to ensure that the institution helps develop strong space technology programs in the country.
Rtd. Major General Michael Agu, the pioneer president of NISEng, recalled that the institution has a memorandum of understanding with NASRDA on space businesses and activities.
According to Agu, the same understanding and working relationship can be extended to the Defense Space Administration (DSA) and other stakeholders to ensure that security concerns are addressed.
Among other goodwill messages from DSA, the National Productivity Center, NASRDA and other past presidents of the institution, who called for more funding for space programs.
They also called for collaboration between players in space technologies to stimulate the development of the sector. (NOPE)
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