The Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, Dr Halilu Ahmad Shaba has said the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) project currently being executed by the Agency is primarily aimed at monitoring Geodynamics phenomena in Nigeria and the sub-saharan Africa such as earthquake, volcanic eruptions among others.
In a statement by the Director Media and Corporate Communication of NASRDA,Dr Felix Ale,the Director General made the clarification when he played host to a team of scientists from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, China (SHAO) at the Agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
The NASRDA Boss explained that, the Federal Executive Council in 2017 had mandated the Space Agency to intensify efforts towards sesmic activities within the country by ensuring that relevant data on natural disasters are made available to policy makers for effective implementation.
He said the Nigerian Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed towards ensuring a safe haven for its citizens especially during natural disasters hence, the need for the establishment of VLBI which will guarantee effective monitoring and provision of relevant data.
The NASRDA boss described the visit by the Chinese experts as timely especially at a time when the country is in need of accurate space related data for effective policy formulation and implementation.
He explained that the choice of Toro in Bauchi state as the site for location of the project was because of its stability and strategic location in the global map for the execution of such geodynamics project.
Dr Shaba expressed appreciation for the contributions of the experts and reaffirmed the Agency’s support in all procedural ramifications for the success of the project.
This according to him, will go a long way in placing Nigeria in its rightful position in the global community.
Dr Shaba urged the team of experts to consider capacity building especially for indigenous engineers and scientists as an integral part of the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, so as to create a long lasting legacy.
The NASRDA boss also charged members of the MOU implementation committee on the need to commence work so as to guarantee the speedy completion of the project.
In his presentation, the Acting Director, Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, CGG Toro, Dr Joseph Dodo said the idea of establishing the VLBI is very strategic because of its capacity to carry out earth observation research and ensure proper monitoring of translation and rotation of the African Pole.
According to him, the project will be contributing to the global network of Space Geodetic Systems for understanding of the global reference frame and the earth tectonic.
Dr Dodo who gave a background of the CGG, its activities and possible areas of collaboration with the Chinese experts further stated that the VLBI has the capability of tracking satellites and other space missions.
In his contribution, the leader of the visiting team, Professor Jingling Li gave an overview of the activities of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory which according to him is under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Professor Li who expressed his willingness to work with NASRDA through it’s Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics explained that the materials for the execution of the project were assembled in China and waiting for shipment to Nigeria within the shortest possible time.
He assured that the project will be executed in good time so that Nigerians can have access to real time data that will aid in effective planning, monitoring and implementation of people oriented policies and programmes.