The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has approved the setting up of a space museum and planetarium in Abuja.
Minister of Science and Technology and Innovation, Mr Adeleke Mamora, said this while briefing newsmen at the end of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
Planetarium is a theatre built for the presentation of education and entertainment on space science.
He said the project would cost N3.5 billion, but at no cost to the Nigerian government.
Mamora said that the project being handled under Public-Private Partnership would be sited at the premises of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) in Abuja.
“Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation presented a memo to the council in respect of Public-Private Partnership brought by one of our of our agencies and that is NASRDA.
“The memo is essentially to secure partnership on the upgrade, equipping and marketing of the space museum and planetarium.
“And the buildings meant for this project has been in place since 2018; but because of non-availability of funds to put the necessary equipment in place, the project has been stalled,’’ he said.
The minister said Wednesday’s decision rode on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari at the National Space Council meeting earlier in the year.
He said the president directed at the meeting that the director-general of NASRDA should explore and exploit collaboration with the private sector.
He added that a proposal was received from a private company in Nigeria.
This to the processes in terms of outlining of a business case ensuring compliance with all the requirements needed to present the memo before the cabinet.
“Fortunately, the memo was approved and the cost of the project is about N3.5 billion and it is at no cost to government; the project will last for about 15 years when, thereafter, it reverts to the Federal Government.
“The buildings I am referring to are located at the NASDRA premises here in Abuja,’’ he said.
Mamora said that the project would provide jobs for more than 200 people and provide an opportunity for learning experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In commemoration of World Science Day for Peace and Development, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has called for an increased Science and Technology (S&T) budget to boost development in the sector.
Dr Benjamin Ayatunji, the Chairman, Space Ambassadorship Programme of NASDRA, made the appeal on Friday in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.
The day was set aside to highlight the important role that science played in the society and the need to engage wider publics in debates on emerging scientific issues.
The theme for the year’s celebration is “Science, a Human Right”
Ayatunji also appealed to the government for special intervention funds to build its Assembly Integration and Testing Laboratory (AITL).
“In developing science and technology in Nigeria there is a need to increase funding for the sector.
“In Nigeria, you notice that Science and Technology (S&T) budget is always among the least and no nation can develop beyond its capacity.
“We are talking of developing S&T but the agency has been struggling to build its AITL over the past 12 years.
“Building the lab cannot be achieved with the slim budget that comes to the sector and at this point the agency needs a special intervention fund to build that,” he said.
He, however, said that with the limited resources available to the sector and the agency, it had contributed greatly to the maintenance of peace and fostering development in the country.
According to Ayatunji, deploying space science technology has bridged the gap between humanity and ensured food security.
“Space science is the final frontier in the maintenance of peace for any nation because in space there is no dichotomy of colour, continent or country but one formality and one world.
“Space technology has connected people on mobile devices thereby making communication accessible and unifying people in spite of location.
“With the use of space science technology, the agency has contributed images required by farmers to boost crop yield and encourage year round farming,” Ayatunji said.
He further said that in 2012 during the nationwide flooding crisis, the agency through its Economic Development Programme provided images used to identify the flooded areas, hence the government’s intervention.
The chairman said that the government was making efforts to develop the sector but a more holistic approach was required to build the sector to be at par with what was required in the global science sector.
Edited by: Chukwudi Ekezie
Prof. Danladi Matawal, Director-General, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NIBRRI) has warned the nation not to take any tremors for granted.
Matawal in a statement he signed on Monday in Abuja said that there was need to search immediately where the recent tremors in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were being propagated from.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that there was earth shakings that happened around Mpape and part of Maitama District of FCT last Thursday.
He further advised the nation to design a set of actions to mitigate the tremors effect if it was man-made or artificial, whether from deep explosives or mining.
“Are we constructing a tunnel in Abuja? Then the explosive waves must be attenuated and dumped at the source of the explosion.
“City residents also need to be warned and trained on responses to such an impending disturbance.
“ If natural, then we should prepare for evacuation because major earth tectonic activities are always preceded pre shocks and minor tremors due to the straining and splitting of pieces of plates near the epicentre.
“ Volcanoes and Earthquakes are calamities and Nigeria is not prepared for that and we must believe that with the calm already established, we can still claim our extinct innocence,’’ he said.
He said no scientist could disprove that the entire Nigeria was not extinct as there were no records of recent volcano or earthquake in recorded history in the country.
The director general however, maintained that all it took to translate from “Extinct’’ to “Active’’ was one major Seismic activity.
According to him, for the purposes of scientific and engineering technocrats, the nation must watch out for the reasons for the tremors.
“It is expected that by now, a set of experts and non-experts should be brainstorming somewhere in FCT over the matter.
“On Sunday, we had account of someone who lives in Mpape who said dogs, in particular, barked relentlessly. While we prayed fervently that this is not a natural phenomenon because of the extinct nature of our geomorphology.
“Nonetheless the first warning of seismic activity in active regions of the world is animal behaviour.
“ Dogs will bark wildly, cats will ran frantically, rats will run frenzy in the house; horses will break their enclosures, etc.
“This is because their extra sensory senses from whiskers makes them sense activity in the earth’s crust when bits and pieces of the crust are fracturing along a prospective fault line instigated at fracturing epicenter.’’
Matawal said that the same happened in a major rock burst as it was principally the same process of release of huge strain energies.
According to him, people should watch out for signs and the solution of tremor if it is of high risk (Rickter Scale of 2.5 and above) is to run to open parks and fields with family and pets.
“All seismic activities are accompanied by four waves. I already mentioned the P-waves which are the most destructive because they crumble the earth’s surface and any structure on it. They cause compression of the ground surface.
“The second is the S-waves which are shear waves. If you see a fault on the ground surface, they are caused by these shear waves.
“The others are Raleigh and Love waves which cause no damage but temporary dumbness in human beings because they compress the air pretty much like slapping in the ear.
“The major cause of death is buildings and infrastructure created by mankind. Imagine if a Dam breaks due to Seismic activity as well as falling buildings and bridges, City Fires, among others,’’ he said.
The director general said he joined the team rushed to Lapai in Niger State over the report of an earthquake in the area in 2011 or 2012.
He said the team found a huge, truly massive rock outcrop bursting and cracking, a Weathering phenomenon.
Matawal noted that the huge strain energy released by the cracking mass of rock actually shook the area for some days as it released Primary (compressive) and Secondary (Shear) seismic waves that frightened everyone.
Edited by: Cecilia Odey/Maureen Atuonwu
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) said it had concluded discussion with Landmark University Omu-Aran, Kwara for the successful launch of a second Nanosatellite, codenamed EDUSAT-2.Mr Felix Ale, the Head of Media and Corporate Communications of the agency disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Prof. Seidu Mohammed, the Director-General of the Space Agency, made this remark when the management team of the university visited NASDRA’s Headquarters in Abuja.
Mohammed said that the collaboration was being pursued as a result of the genuine interest and commitment of the management of the university to existing memorandum of understanding between the agency and the university.
According to him, the proposed project is in fulfillment of its mandate which includes development of satellites, provision of necessary technology and information for universities to develop capabilities in satellite technology.
He said that the nanosatellite would lay emphasis on agricultural development.
He said the satellite would have an infrared camera feature to detect diseased crops to monitor large agricultural areas to understand crop characteristics and for other agricultural purposes.
He also reaffirmed the commitment of the agency to consolidate on the government’s economic growth plan through the development of satellite technology.
The D-G, however, called on experts from both institutions to bring on their expertise toward the effective implementation of the project.
Prof. Adeniyi Olayanju, the Vice Chancellor of Landmark University said the launch of the satellite would be a major breakthrough for research and educational development in the country.
“Landmark University is agriculture based and indeed very desirous to develop technologies that will improve the sector in Nigeria.’’
“Agricultural technology cannot be achieved without developing engineering that can promote mechanised and automated technology for it,” he said.
The VC said using facilities in the space agency would aid the development of agricultural technology.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the agency’s first nanosatellite was launched in May 2017.
Edited by: Grace Yussuf
The National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) says it will fast track collaboration with international partners to enable Nigeria further develop its space technology for economic development.
Dr Felix Ale, the Head of Media and Cooperate Affairs, NASDRA said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.
He said that Nigeria was already leading Africa in space technology and was working round the clock to maintain the lead.
He said that no country could develop without science and technology, including space technology.
“As at today, we have successfully launched communication satellites such as Nigeria Sat 1, Nigeria Sat 2, Nigeria Sat X and recently, we launched a Nano Satellite in Japan.
“All our satellites are in the orbit and functioning well,’’ he said.
He explained that it was the agency’s satellite images that were used to curtail the Lokoja, Kogi flood in 2012, adding that they were also being used for security purposes in the country.
“Space science and technology is the main thing all over the world and everything today revolves around science and technology.
“We cannot just fold our hands and be watching; we must try to embrace this programme for the benefit of our people.
“We are trying to uphold the panel of history in Africa as a nation blessed with the leading space agency in Africa,” he said.
Ale said that the agency was also internationally recognised as it had provided the U.S. with images of hurricane Katrina in Aug. 2005.
“Apart from our headquarters, we have a lot of activity centres that specialise in different areas and there are so many things they are doing.
“We are a member of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), an international imaging remote sensing satellite group, which makes us relevant internationally and today we are making our impact felt.
“When the hurricane Katrina happened, it was Nigeria’s satellite that first gave America satellite images of that disaster, we gave the images to American government and it was acknowledged, so we are not just relevant at home, but also at the international level.
“We are doing everything humanly possible, and that is why I keep saying that we have space to maintain the pace,” Ale said.
NASDRA spokesperson said that the agency was collaborating with some tertiary institutions to improve the ecosystem, handle erosion and other environmental issues in the country.
“We believe that through partnership, we can also spread our activities to every nook and cranny in this country,” he said.
Edited by: Muhyideen Jimoh/Grace Yussuf