As controversy continued to trail the launch of NigeriaSat-2 and X into orbit eight days at Yasny, Southern Russia , experts in the science and technology sector have called on Nigerians to be patient with government, as the nation is still new in the application of space technology programmes.
The controversy followed a media report that Sat-X has no ground station in Abuja to monitor and control the data collected by the satellite.
But National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) which was responsible for the launching of the satellite denied the allegation and said that there was a functional ground monitoring station in Abuja which according to the agency was one of the most sophisticated in the world.
Although some of the experts said that they were not experts in satellite operations, they ,however, said that if the situation proved to be true, “then it is a dangerous signal for the country, especially in security issues.”
In a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP, the President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chris Uwaje, said that it is unprofessional for him to comment on the issue, but was quick to add that, for the truth to be told, “Nigerian government should invite top Peer Review artists to have a view of what NASRDA has on ground.
“This is the only way we can know the truth. Without top space artists viewing what is on ground at NASRDA, there is little we can do because they are the only people who can establish the truth,” he said.
Also, the director-general of National Office for Technology Acquisition (NOTAP), Engr. Umar Bindir, told LEADERSHIP that he has little or no knowledge on the technicalities involved in satellite development, and so could not authoritatively say anything on it, but added that “it is a very serious situation if there is anything to go by the allegation.”
The director-general of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NIBRRI) Prof. Danladi Slim Matawal, who also acknowledged that his area was to build capacity and conduct integrated applied research and development in building road and construction sector of the economy, added that such development if it occurred, has real security implications.
“Well, I don’t know much about satellite technology, but I don’t know why such agreement should be made, allowing another country to monitor our images. It has security implications. If you allow another country to control infrastructure for that kind of venture, anything can happen. The ground station may be grounded; they can monitor our movements and can even stop the signal. I don’t know why we can’t build the satellite here, because we have all it takes to build and launch a satellite,” Prof. Matawal added.
Also, one of the experts in the communication sector who did not want his name mentioned, said that the implication of not having a ground station means that Nigeria has technically used her resources to build satellite for foreigners.
“It has economic and security implications for the country. Our images that can be commercialised would be left in the hands of foreigners who will use it to make money for themselves. In terms of security, secret images and data could be sold to our enemies among others” .