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Nigeria joins earth observation group to democratise data- NASRDA D-G

  18 Mai      30        Non classé (441),


Abuja, May 18, 2023 (NAN) Dr Halilu Shaba, Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), said Nigeria joined the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to democratise and provide access to data for the citizens.

Shaba, also the Nigerian GEO Principal, said this on Thursday at the ongoing GEO-Nigeria and Radar Training Workshop organised by the agency in Abuja.

GEO is an intergovernmental partnership that improves the availability, access and use of Earth Observations (EO) data for a sustainable planet.

Shaba said that GEO community objectives focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Nigeria, being a signatory to the focus areas needed to align its activities to the global GEO.

“We joined the GEO in 2005, we have been participating but we want to bring it back home and allow Nigerians to set the agenda.

“It is the Nigerian agenda that will be taken to the continental agenda, then to the global agenda unlike where the global GEO decides what countries will do.

“In this case, we will come to Nigerians who are using data, allowing them access to the data because data should be democratised.

“With the data we have, we can now go to the GEO global meeting and tell them what Nigeria wants and not them telling us what we want,’’ he said.

The director-general also said that EO had resulted in economic value in different sectors.

He said that satellite technology was an enabler for development, adding that there is free communication, Artificial Intelligence and agricultural development engendered by satellite communications.

Shaba added: “You cannot talk about e-economy without a satellite because that is what provides the data.

“The fight against COVID was won due to the media being able to broadcast with the help of satellite, a lot of advantages are there.

“If we have the ability to shut down data in Nigeria, it is like we are shutting down the Nigerian economy, hence satellite is an enabler.

“GEO is about democratisation of data where everybody will have access to data and information so that when you take decisions you are informed and you have no regrets.”

Dr Sabri Mekaoui, Programme Officer, Science, Technology and Innovation of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said Nigeria was not late coming on board the GEO.

Mekaoui recognised that Nigeria has been acting on many applications linked to GEO, adding,”but joining the group now is creating an official structure to steps taken in the past.”

He further said that space needed to be mainstreamed into all the sectors of the economy for the common people to understand and utilise it for benefits.

Mekaoui added that Nigeria’s membership would give it more results, more visibility and more interaction with other countries.

“GEO is where stakeholders meet to identify the needs that come from either pollution, agriculture, forestry, any field you can think of, it brings stakeholders using EO for sustainable development.

“Space sector as perceived by the population is thinking about people going to the Moon, to Mars, astronauts, and all that.

“Thinking of space in a larger way, you have geospatial data that can be used to regulate, monitor pollution and it is not something new.

“What can be new now is to make space operational, generalising it to the transport, health, pollution, any sector that needs information,’’ he said.

According to him, mainstreaming means that any project should consider the fact that there is a Nigerian space agency to give a seal of excellence to what has been done in the past for more results.

Dr Matthew Adepoju, the Alternate Principal of GEO-Nigeria, said that the country would be having the first population census based on satellite imagery in Africa.

“Interestingly, we are going to have the first census on the African continent based on imagery because the National Population Commission (NPC) acquired a high resolution satellite radius.

“They have mapped out every building footprint, so the contention of varying population will not be there, every building has been identified.

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