From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Ajayi Borroface has blamed the slow pace growth of the space sector in Nigeria on inadequate recruitment and employment methods.
The Senator, while speaking at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) 2020 Space Dialogue Conference on Thursday in Abuja, said when 80% of the people employed into the sector aren’t space experts, there is bound to be low performance.
Borroface who was the pioneer Director General of NARSDA said: “How can you be taking people with degrees religious studies to space centre? It is mis-employment, when people who are supposed to support staff constitute about 80% are the workforce, it is wrong.”
He went on to stress that the agency needs experience and scientists to concentrate up to 70% of the workforce.
He said: “I learnt that the ICPC is around, scrutinizing employment documents, I heard employment is earned with N2 million, N2.5 million it is sad. We have to reexamine ourselves, we have to sanitize the space agency so that we can achieve the purpose of nation itself.
“I am the pioneer DG of this agency and right now, the space agency has no guidance and the trajectory is disastrous. When we started Nigerian Sat-X it was built by Nigerians and it worked for many years, I don’t know if it is still working. We have to get it right, we have to tell ourselves the truth and I thank God that we have a president who is interested in Science and Technology.”
Also speaking at the conference, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonoya Onu gave assurance that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to space science and technology and will continue to do the best to ensure that additional satellites are put in orbit.
“I will like to assure the deputy majority leader of the senate that we agree with you about the mistakes that were made here, they are also mistakes that you can find in government institutions but we are determined to correct those mistakes and we are taking the neccesary steps to make sure they are corrected.
“The Nigeria Space Policy is focused on the vigorous pursuit of the attainment of space capabilities as an essential tool for socioeconomic development, particularly on meaningful improvement in the living standard and quality of life of Nigerians.
“Therefore, an occasion like this will no doubt create the conducive atmosphere for robust intellectual discourse and debate that can impact positively on government policies and programmes for national development and for the overall benefits of our people.”
In his address, the Acting DG of NARSDA, Dr Francis Dubem Chizea, said: “I am pleased to announce to you that today, we can now boast of seven (7) activity centres of excellence and six (6) research laboratories located in various geo-political zones of the country for various important researches that affect all facets of human life and strategic to national development”.
“Although we may have faced some expected challenges that may have hindered some of our activities but I wish to assure you that we have not lost focus as we remain fully on track with regards to our roadmap as approved by the Federal Executive council of the Federal republic of Nigeria.
“The Space Agency is undaunted in the actualisation of its various mandates, particularly in the design and building of indigenous satellites which will be launched from a Launchpad here in Nigeria.”