Founder of Zinox Technologies, Mr Leonard Ekeh, has advised the Federal Government to leverage on space technology in tackling Nigeria’s socio-economic problems.
Ekeh said this while speaking at the 2020 National Space Dialogue on Space, Science and Technology in Abuja.
He said that Nigeria has great potential in space technology, which could be harnessed to make the country great.
Ekeh said Nigeria can use the space technology in agriculture, flood control and even policing, for effective results.
“The era of using physical combat in persecuting wars is over, countries all over the world are using technology in fighting wars and even in law enforcement. It is unimaginable that the Nigerian Army is still using physical combat in the 21st century, when we can easily use space technology by mapping conflicts area and deploying technologies for enhanced results. Even the police can deploy space technology for effective policing instead of relying on physical contact.”
Ekeh commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his numerous efforts towards developing the science and technology sector in the country.
“The President has shown much commitment towards harnessing Nigeria’s potential in science and technology, he even named the Ministry of Communication as Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy. But I think the President can do more by leveraging on science and technology towards tackling numerous challenges facing the country,” he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, Director, Centre for Atmospheric Research (CAR), said the government can leverage on technology towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Rabiu presented a paper “Potency of Space-Dependent Technology in Elimination of Corruption, Promotion of Good Governance and Public Accountability”, at the event.
According to Rabiu, space technology is making governance easy because it provides data, even in inaccessible areas, and enables the government to make informed decisions.
Rabiu defined space-dependent technology as those technologies that depended on the use of satellites that were in the orbit like satellite, navigation, information, drone technologies, among others.
“Space-dependent technology has critical roles to play in the accomplishment of virtually all the 17 SDGs.
“Space technology has been proven to address poverty in all its forms everywhere.
“Precision farming, a farming technique more advanced than mechanised farming, now embrace the use of autonomous vehicles, automated machines, real-time network surveillance cameras, among other tools that improve farm yields.
“Space technology has encouraged telemedicine, a medical practice that utilises product of space technology and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in health care delivery,” he said.
Rabiu added: “Telemedicine makes it possible to treat diseases by consultation with a specialist in a remote area by satellite link.
“Space technology can address issues on quality education, clean water, smart cities and climate change.”
The director said that in 2016, the government was able to uncover 23,846 ghost workers using space-dependent technology at the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Rabiu said that bad governance and poverty in the country was not due to lack of abundance but due largely to corruption, wastage and economic leakages.
“The federal government should promulgate an executive order mandating Ministries, Departments and Agencies to identify and maximise the use of space application to address our numerous socio-economic and national security challenges.
“NASRDA needs to seek appropriate executive approval to organise a national meet of extra-ordinary Inter-ministerial stakeholders to introduce products of space technology in their operations especially at federal levels.
“We need introduction of relevant courses that can enhance manpower development in space science and technology into our curriculum at tertiary education levels.
“We also need to review existing laws to permit patronage of space-dependent products at all levels of development and budgetary systems, procurement laws to favour space science and allied technologies,” he said.
The dialogue was organised by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) in collaboration with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC).
The theme of the dialogue was: “Potency of Space-Dependent Technologies in Driving Good Governance and Eliminating Corruption in Post-COVID-19 Era.”