The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, says that the Federal Government will commit more resources to space research and development.
The minister stated this on Monday at Anyigba, Kogi, while inaugurating a new laboratory complex and engineering workshop built by the Centre for Atmospheric Research, Anyigba.
He noted that science, technology and innovation were critical to the development of any nation, saying this informed the decision by the Federal Government to provide more funds for the sector.
The minister said there was the need to establish the centre because the country could not continue to be indifferent to global trends in space research.
Onu said: “We want to be at the frontier of knowledge. We cannot afford not to participate in space research and development.”
The minister also lauded the National Space Research and Development Agency for establishing the centre, stressing that it was of critical importance to the country.
The Director-General of NASRDA, Prof. Mohammed Seidu, said that the centre’s mandate was to provide sound education, research and knowledge in lower atmosphere, upper atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry and environmental sciences.
He said that the centre was also mandated to conduct environmental research, tropospheric and trans-ionospheric radio propagation research, solar physics, solar terrestrial interactions, space weather, human space technology initiative and space debris among others.
Seidu said that the centre had researched into safer air travel system and better security for space assets, space weather study and study on the cause, impact and mediation of 2012 flood over Nigeria.
He said that Monday’s inauguration marked the successful completion of the first phase of the project and the commencement of the second phase.
The second phase, he said, would include administrative block and ground receiving station to enable the installation of required equipment for research activities.
In his address of welcome, the Director of CAR, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, said that the centre was one of the seven autonomous research and development centres of NASRDA in the country.
He said the Centre on February 12 commenced the daily dissemination of space weather condition in West Africa.
Rabiu said that atmospheric and space facilities at the centre were running perfectly and had afforded it to run 19 weather stations in 19 locations in the country.
He thanked the Federal Government for releasing funds for the completion of the centre, promising that the facilities would be put to good use.