May 31, 2011

FG saves N45bn through NigeriaSat-1

BY victoria ojeme
ABUJA—The use of Nigeria’s earth observation and imagery satellite (Nigeriasat-1) system for national land use and cover mapping has saved the country about N45 billion($300m).

Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, who disclosed this at the commissioning of the project results of National Land Use and Land Cover Mapping of Nigeria, also said the country had saved more than N1 billion from not contracting out the land mapping, and challenged the National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, to ensure that tax payers’ investment in the satellite system was justified.

He noted that this was the first time land mapping in Nigeria was carried out using the nation’s satellite system.
His said: “I want to also remind you that what is important as far as our work is concerned is the extent to which we are able to justify the tax payers’ investment in what we do.

“What I expect to see is the land use map to be put to use for the development of Nigeria; for Nigerians to know that we are making contributions in our own way.”

to ensure that we come to their aid for assistance. We synergies with other ministries like agriculture, environment to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians

“To the best of my knowledge this is the first time that land use land cover mapping of Nigeria has been carried out in this country with the Nigerian satellite.  Secondly even in the federal executive council we took an information to the council that NSASDRA is about to launch 2 satellites in June.

“The first satellite is a replacement of Nigeria-Sat-1, but unlike the Nigeria sat-1 with only one camera, Nigeria Sat- 2 has three cameras in 3 three different variations and I understand and believe too that that is going to enhance considerably what NASDRA can do with satellite for Nigeria.”

Prof. Abubakar, who reiterated the federal government’s commitment to the peaceful use of satellite technology, added that one of the satellites to be launched, “Nigeria sat-X”, with resolution of 22mm, was designed and constructed exclusively by Nigerian scientists.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the commissioning ceremony, the Director-General of NASRDA, Dr, Seidu Onailo, said “from Nigeria sat-1, we were able to do a national project, from this alone, we have saved Nigeria about $300 million dollar.”

He recalled that land mapping in Nigeria was carried out in 1997 by some professors with consultants from Canada, with about $3 million dollars borrowed from the World Bank.

“Today, we got no money from anybody for the satellite earth observation image. So the satellite is 100 percent from Nigeria, unlike Nigeriasat-1.

“This is a bigger challenge for Nigeria. This time also, it was done in house using the resources, and resources persons from Nigeria universities and other relevant stakeholders like Federal Ministry of Agriculture, office of Auditor-General of the Federation and we are happy to say that from this project alone were able to save the nation N1 billion,” he added.

He, however, noted that the total capital covering the land project was less than N90 million, stating that if it was contracted outside, “it would have been worth over N 1 billion, so we have save Nigeria over one billion Naira and we hope that opportunities will come after the launch of Nigeria sat-2. Nigeria will have more detail map at much larger scale.”