In today’s world, harnessing the potential of space technology and knowledge cannot be overemphasized, thus, Nigeria and India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the exploration of the outer space for peaceful purposes.
The Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja, and India’s Minister of External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan were present during the signing which took place virtually.
Also, the Director General of Nigeria’s National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Francis Chizea who signed the MoU earlier endorsed by his counterpart, the Chairman of the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr. K Sivan, with the ISRO Scientific Secretary, R. Umamaheswaran as a witness via a video link from its headquarters in Bengaluru.
The agreement is understood to strengthen India’s capacity building assistance to Nigeria, since forty-five Nigerian scientists for the past twelve years has apparently participated in various short term Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme courses related to space exploration – including remote sensing, GIS and GeoInformatics conducted by the India Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradum; the Geological Survey of India Training Institute and the Center for Development of Advanced Computing, Noida in India.
It further provides for the exchange of scientific know-how, exchanges between academic institutions of both countries and joint symposiums and conferences that will benefit Nigeria’s agriculture, forestry, mining, connectivity and engender watershed development.
Both countries further agreed to sign a supplemental MoU on partnership in use of geospatial technology between the New Space India Limited (NSIL) under ISRO and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Development and Connectivity.
In 2002, the Assistant General Director of Training and Capacity Building at NASRDA made a presentation paper setting out a 28-year roadmap for the research, developing and launching of satellites from Nigeria by 2030.
Following the plan, Nigeria successfully launched its first satellite, the NigSat-1, in 2002 and in 2019, the Centre For Space Transport And Propulsion (CSTP), a technical arm of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) successfully developed and launched three rockets.
By 2030, Nigeria hopes to launch a satellite from Nigerian territory. After that, send a man to the moon.