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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Abubakar seeks harmonious relationship @ NASRDA, NigCOMSAT

The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Mohammed Kaoje Abubakar has urged agencies under the ministry to close ranks and work harmoniously.

Abubakar made this call while welcoming a team from the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited led by its board chairman, Prof. Turner Isoun.

Prof. Abubakar called on officials of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited.

Specifically, he made reference to the recent altercations of top officials of the two agencies over supremacy question.

He noted that both agencies are bona-fide agencies of the federal government, just as he promised to ensure that NIGCOMSAT attains a full-fledged parastatal status under the Science and Technology Ministry ‘to erase doubts as to its legal status” by asking the permanent secretary Dr (Mrs) Dere Awosika to engage all concerned to ensure that “this is achieved” within the shortest possible time.

The minister said that it was out of place for NASRDA to create the impression “that it is the singular authority to launch satellites in Nigeria “adding that this could potentially prevent any smooth enterprise in the sector.”

He also said the proper thing to do is for NASRDA to seek ways of cooperating with NIGCOMSAT Limited to actualise the blueprint for space development and national growth.

The minister further said he was satisfied with the work of NIGCOMSAT’s Managing Director, Mr Ahmed Rufai, hence his recommendation for a fresh four- year term to the President in June last year.

The Minister enjoined the management of both agencies to cooperate and work in harmony, ensuring that peace reigns for the good of Nigeria, and asked the NIGCOMSAT board chairman, Prof. Isoun to see that through during his tenure, maintaining as Minister, he has good will towards all the agencies under his command.

Earlier, in his remarks, Prof. Isoun who led NIGCOMSAT team made up of the Managing Director, Mr. Rufai, Ms Abimbola Alale (Director) and Ms Irene Ekweozoh (Secretary) said the courtesy visit was to acknowledge the reality that NIGCOMSAT is and remains an entity under the Ministry of Science and Technology despite misconceived perception arising from the board’s inauguration by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

Isoun who remains the longest serving Minister in the Ministry (seven years) and mid-wifed NIGCOMSAT during his tenure, said the company has done well and particularly praised the tenacity of its Chief Executive, Ahmed Rufai for putting together an assemblage of over 100 engineers trained in the field of satellite operations and his ability to engage these engineers in the production of various innovative products through an enabling environment to use skills for the greater benefits of the nation.

He listed some of these innovative products to include but not limited to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Staff Attendance and Access Control System (SAACS), and electronic voting (e-voting) platform which was demonstrated to INEC in August 2010 among others.

ITRealms Online recalls that these came through the Know-How-Technology Transfer Programme initiated by Ahmed Rufai and his team, after NigcomSat 1 was de-orbited on November 10, 2008.

While canvassing that the minister uses his good office to ensure a harmonious relationship in order to bring about a meaningful advancement in space science and technology, Isoun sought the minister’s assistance in engaging the necessary resources and support for the new Science and Technology Innovation (STI) policy to become a benchmark for Nigeria’s transformation.

Remmy Nweke:
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