Nigeria draws roadmap to the moon

The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced that it had drawn up a master plan through which the first Nigerian would "land on the moon by 2030."

Giving details of the plan, which was approved at Wednesday's meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Science and Technology Minister Prof Turner Isuon said a cabinet committee has been established for the purpose.

At a news briefing after the FEC meeting, Isuon told reporters that members of the council committee include the ministers of science and technology, FCT, education, communications and the minister of state for finance.

He said the committee "is to draw up the plan and budget for the actualization of the presidential initiative is also empowered to invite Nigerians in the diaspora who are specialists in space science."

The minister said within the next 25 years, Nigeria would aspire to produce and launch a satellite in the country and also be able to help others achieve a similar goal.

He added that the most populous African country would not go solo on the search for a place in space, adding that through its National Space Research and Development Agency, the federal government hopes to go into partnerships with other nations that were ahead in space.

"As we speak, 55 young engineers are undergoing training on satellite technology in China," he said, adding that the government was planning to establish the needed institutions and infrastructure for the program.

"There will be a year by year plan, and capacity would be developed," he said, noting that by the end of 2007, between 60 and 70 satellite engineers would have been fully trained and ready for the task ahead.

He spoke of plans to develop communications software locally and also manufacture all the facilities needed in space technology such that the nation could also begin to reap huge benefits from space sciences.

The minister said the space plan was for the future and that the federal government was "very serious on this" and was determined to work successfully to actualize it.


People's Daily Online ---