By Remi Adebayo
Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Barr. Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu has restated the commitment of the Federal Government to leverage on Information and Communication Technology to reverse the nation’s dependence on natural resources in stimulating economic growth.
The Minister disclosed this on Tuesday while declaring open the 15th ITU Resolution 609 Consultation meeting and Radionavigation Satellite Service Symposium holding in Abuja.
Shittu said the federal government has been in the vanguard for the diversification of the economy through robust policies and promotion of services as well as technologies like the Radio Navigation Satellite System, in line with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (EGRP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“As economies become increasingly dependent on ICT, it is critical that government move closely with industry players and development partners to maximize the value of digital innovations. Until recently, Nigeria’s growth in the global economy competes mainly on its factors of endowments; primarily natural resources.
“We are reversing this trend by leveraging on ICT to stimulate economic growth as well as sustain rapid socio-economic development with emphasis on job and wealth creation,” the Minister said.
Shittu said the Ministry of Communications was facilitating universal and cost-effective access to communications throughout the nation.
He pledged the support of the Federal Government towards back-up satellite systems for NIGCOMSAT in its bid to deliver robust services and its expansion drive in broadcasting, navigation, telecommunications and relevant sectors.
The Minister revealed that test-bed trial, characterization and pilot demonstration for Nigeria’s back-up satellite would commence in the first quarter of 2019 with the plan to use selected Nigerian Air Force aircrafts with validation by the Agency for Aerial Navigation in Africa and Madagascar before being deployed in civil aviation sector.
On his part, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubaka while delivering his goodwill message, assured NIGCOMSAT of continued support of the Nigerian Air Force towards the fulfillment of its mandate.
“The Nigerian Air Force recognizes and supports the efforts of NIGCOMSAT Ltd in its mandate of implementation of Nigerian Satellite Augmentation System as a navigation overlay service which I understand is Africa’s premier satellite-based augmentation System.
“The Nigerian Air Force will be glad to key into the navigation overlay service, especially for in-flight connectivity and performance-based navigation,” Sadique said.
The Air Force chief expressed gratitude to NIGCOMSAT for adding value to its services aimed at guaranteeing the security of the country.
“I am equally glad to note that the NAF is actively involved in other activities of ITU. Presently, some of our personnel are part of a team reviewing Nigeria’s preliminary positions to be presented at the 3rd World African Preparatory Meeting for ITU 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference,” he said.
In the same vein, Chief of Defence Space Administration, Maj.-Gen. E.G. White highlighted that the unit was established to utilize space science and technologies within the ambit of the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967 in line with provisions of the United Nations Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s Defence Space programme was absolutely for peace in view of Nigeria’s place as a responsible nation in the global community.
“Our mission is to support the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security and law enforcement agencies with necessary solution necessary for the conduct of operations in peace and war time in line with the Nigerian Space Policy and Programme 2001, in a secure cyber space,” White said.
Earlier in her welcome address, NIGCOMSAT’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abimbola Alale, thanked participants for choosing Nigeria as host for the conference, pledging total support towards the operational mandate of Resolution 609 Consultation Forum.
She stressed that NIGCOMSAT would continue to support ITU in pursuit of its technical and administrative parameters as well as requirements for operational and planned Radionavigation Satellite Services (RNSS) systems.
The NIGCOMSAT’s boss extended invitation to delegates for a facility tour of its Ground Station Complex at the end of technical plenary sessions on Thursday.
The World Radiocommunication Conference, Geneva 200 adopted Resolution 609 for Consultation Meetings between administrations operating or planning to operate systems in the aeronautical radionavigation service (ARNS) and systems in the radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) in the 1 164-1 215 MHz frequency band, to be held on a regular basis to achieve the level of protection for ARNS systems.
The three-day summit, which is the first to be hosted in Africa, is jointly organized by the Ministry of Communications in collaboration with NIGCOMSAT, the Nigerian Air Force and Defence Space Administration.