Nigeria formally took delivery of its communication satellite and in-orbit delivery of Nigeria Communication Satellite (NigComSat-1R) yesterday with President Goodluck Jonathan, urging Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to henceforth deploy and take advantage of this new technology, thereby making it mandatory for all government agencies to use the facility.
Taking delivery of the satellite from the contractor; China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) at the Ground Control Station in Abuja, President Jonathan who was represented by Chairman, Board of NigComSat, Prof. Turner Isoun, said the new technology would quicken and expedite action on the activities of government for the benefit of Nigerians.
He said: “One of the cardinal activities of this administration is the need to improve the living conditions of our people by creating economic emancipation and empowerment through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which has remained a viable transformation vehicle for our economic stability, educational growth and social welfare.”
Speaking further, the President disclosed that government had set in motion for the orbit to acquire NigComSat 2 and 3 as backups to NigComSat 1R.
He therefore directed all MDAs to hook up to NigComSat- 1R to accelerate government policies and programmes to the benefit of the people, adding that, “China has been one of our bigger trade partners with whom we have had very robust bilateral relationship. That this satellite was replaced with no cost testifies to the faith and confidence the country has in Nigeria.”
Earlier, Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the commencement of NigComSat-1R on commercial activities opens up several opportunities and gains for the industry stakeholders to bring the benefits of this key ICT infrastructure to end users.
“Given the importance of this satellite to Nigeria and Africa, the ministry would explore and provide NIGCOMSAT Limited with necessary support to take the lead by capturing a large share of the communications market over its coverage areas in Africa, Europe and Asia, thereby generating high revenues and creating job opportunities in Nigeria. The ministry however will ensure that all MDAs and relevant stakeholders patronize NIGCOMSAT Ltd”, Johnson noted.
Managing Director, NIGCOMSAT Limited, Mr. Timasaniyu Rufai, had explained that the inauguration of NigComSat- 1R on December 2011 in China and today’s in-orbit delivery is a spectacle of history as the launch is symbolic on different levels.
He said: “For the Federal Government of Nigeria, it is a prerequisite for a knowledge based economy, and to the ICT industry, it shall be a critical infrastructure. It’s our hope that with the co-operation of all these players, the average Nigerian shall reap the benefits of the launch of NigComSat-1R.”
Rufai explained that, “We would boost the broadcast industry as a signal carrier distributor for the direct-to-home television contents on our Ku band. It is my hope that those in the broadcast industry will take advantage of this glowing opportunity to meet the challenges of global migration in the industry. ”
“For us at NIGCOMSAT Limited, it is the end result of many years of hardwork and sacrifice as it’s another step towards the fulfilment of our vision to be the leading satellite operator in Africa. The feat achieved today enacts critical support needed for the transformation agenda of government. It is a sign post for e-education, e-health services, e-banking, e-judiciary and so on,” he noted.
Giving an insight into the viability of the Nigcomsat-1R, President of the Chinese company, Yin Liming said when operational, the Sat-1R will afford Nigeria the opportunity to fulfil its developmental goals, including “Becoming the leading operator and service provider, with a capable and diligent team.”
According to Liming, “While space development has been prioritised as key national programs and strategic innovative industry in China, we look forwards to cooperating with Nigeria in more programs like following up communication satellite and space infrastructure program, making joint effort for greater expectation of the two nations.”