Mr Ahmad Zakari, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Infrastructures, says the large chunk of the proposed supplementary budget of N982 billion has been designated for defence capabilities.

Zakari said this on Thursday at the 11th National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISE) in Abuja.

The conference is themed: “Combating Kidnapping and Banditry in Nigeria: Role of Space Technologies and ICTs, Security Establishment and the State”.

The special adviser said that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) countries spend two to three per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in research which Nigeria had been lagging.

He added that the government was supportive of science and Technology, research agencies so they could harness local capabilities.

Zakari said: “Recently, the government has approved one per cent of the country’s GDP for the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to boost development of locally made infrastructures and for national security.

“The N982 billion supplementary budget has the large chunk of it dedicated for defence capabilities.

“I encourage NISE, security agencies to engage in discussions around patronage of locally made security equipment which will reduce capital flight in that sector,” he said.

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He regretted that security challenges in the country had serious economic impact, leading to joblessness and insecurities.

According to him, we need to invest in Unmanned aerial tracking systems, new age technology which included Space technology to combat banditry and terrorism in the country.

Dr George Okpanachi, the National Chairman of the NISE, recognised that kidnapping and pockets of insecurities were huge national challenges.

Okpanachi said that NISE had the capacity to contribute their quota towards addressing insecurities in the country.

According to him, the capacity is there but there is lack of infrastructure and we need government’s support in the area of Infrastructures.

The Chairman of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Babagana Mohammed, said the government needed to deliberately engage some local companies already into production of security equipment.

Mohammed also advised members of NISE and the NSE to be ethical in their profession, engage in skills development that would degenerate to lifting Nigerians out of poverty.

The Special Guest at the event, Mr Kashim Ali, said although investments in space technology and ICT was for a long term but would be an investment well made.Ali reiterated that there was need to support and strengthen government institutions towards addressing local problems.

Other goodwill messages were from the National Space Research and Development Agency, Nigeria Police and Defense Space Administration, among others.


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