Nigeria has over 100 internationally trained Space Science and Technology (SST) scientists who can develop the space industry in the country, Mr Akachukwu Chichebe, a scientist said on Thursday.
Chichebe, who is the National Coordinator, Advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Laboratory (AUAVL), National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) in Abuja, made the assertion in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said it was time Nigeria looked inward and harness the human capacity available to develop the SST sector.
According to him, the over 100 space scientists acquired knowledge in different areas of astronomy from reputable institutions across the globe.
He added that “for us to be players in this sector as a country, we need to improve our effort. Nigeria is really trying because we have over 100 scientists trained in different areas of space science technology.
“Checking other African countries in terms of space science technology and comparing them with Nigeria, we are numbered among the first three countries.
“These space scientists are people who have acquired special technical skills that are scarce in Nigerian universities; they were trained in the European space agency, in the UK, in France, in America and Ukraine.
“We have what it takes and we should look inwards because a referee determines the turnout in a match.
“In the global space industry, the Europeans and Asians are there and they tend to condemn what the black space scientist does.
“We should apply what we have in terms of innovation to develop our industries, using our indigenous technology and when we do that, they will come for us.”
Chichebe, however, recognised that the over 100 scientists would not be enough to develop the sector, but there was room for knowledge transfer.
He explained that “the more than 100 scientists in astronomy are not enough but the philosophy of the founding fathers of space agency in Nigeria is that we train the trainers.”
The national coordinator said that the country’s space agency could do better, depending on the human resources available in the country.
He regretted that in spite of efforts by the scientists to push the space industry to the limelight, “the sponsorship we get for research and development in this country is appalling.”
He, therefore, urged the government to invest in research and development in the space industry and to
ensure the country harnessed the economic benefits.