Nigeria is lobbying the African Union (AU) to host its African Space Centre, according to a report published in the Nigerian newspaper Independent on 29 October 2018.
The Nigerian Minister for Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, advocated on behalf of the Nigerian government to the African Union panel assessing selected African countries to host the African Space Centre while they visited Abuja, the Nigerian capital city.
Nigeria, Onu said, deserved to host the African Space Centre in view of its pioneering role in space exploration, potential, and technical resources, as well as its significant financial contributions to the African Union.
Onu added that Nigeria had made great strides in space development, adding that it was Nigerian satellites that first alerted the United States about Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.
Onu also told the panel that Nigeria had invested a great deal in the capacity building of space expertise and is willing to share its technical know-how with other African countries.
One also added that space technology can address illegal migration across the Mediterranean to Europe, reduce poverty, and contribute significantly to Africa’s development.
The minister urged African countries to invest in space technology in order to boost their economies, citing the United States as a country that has leveraged space technology to develop its economy.
The minister pointed out that space technology had vast untapped potential which, if explored, could open a new window of opportunity for economic development in the African Continent.
“Our thrust has always been to domesticate our exploration in space science and technology to diversify our economy and boost our economic potentials,” he said.
Onu assured the panel of the resolve of the Nigerian government to secure the establishment of the African Space Centre in the country.
In his return remarks, Professor Chaabouni Mohammed, the Chairman of the African panel assessing potential host countries of the African Space Centre, stressed that space technology development represents the true power of any country.