The Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISEng), on Thursday said that Nigeria can gain sovereignty of its security when it takes hold of manufacturing machine components used in addressing insecurity.
Prof. Spencer Onuh, a Space Engineer and guest lecturer, said this at the 13th National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Institution in Abuja.
The theme of the conference was “Aerospace Manufacturing and Indigenous Capacity: A Step Towards National Security”.
Onuh defined Aerospace manufacturing as the process of designing, developing, producing aircraft and spacecraft, as well as their various components and systems.
He said that Nigeria’s strategic location along the equator, its emerging economy and pool of talented people placed it at an advantage as a potential hub for aerospace activities.
Onuh decried that Nigeria’s aerospace manufacturing heavily depended on foreign nations and that posed a challenge to national security stability.
“Components can be machines or software wise which you order from countries that have this equipment and they can hold you to ransom and they do it diplomatically.
“There are some equipment you cannot buy off the shelve but can be sold to a number of countries.
“If any of the equipment goes wrong, you still need to go through the same process to get them back and except we have this independence, we can’t claim sovereignty,’’ he said.
Onuh enumerated that the country needed to develop indigenous capacity, infrastructure and the enabling environment that would propel investments in aerospace manufacturing.
He added that the benefits of indigenous aerospace manufacturing for security included economic independence, technology protection, rapid response, strategic imperative, among others.
Onuh advised that the government should implement Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education initiatives in schools, encourage intellectual property development, Public-Private partnerships and engage stakeholders in developing aerospace activities.
The lecturer, however, said that government’s support and strategic initiatives were crucial in realising the vision of indigenous aerospace manufacturing.
The National Chairman of the institution, Dr Umar Abdullahi, said they had always expressed dedication to shaping the future of aerospace manufacturing as an important path to national security.
“Our conference theme underscores the intricate relationship between aerospace manufacturing and the safeguarding of a nation’s sovereignty.
“Aerospace manufacturing is not confined to technological advancements and economic growth.
“It directly influences national security by empowering us to design, produce and maintain military aircraft, surveillance drones, communication satellites and more.
“In so doing, it provides us with the means to protect our territorial integrity and reduce dependency on foreign suppliers for critical equipment and technologies,” he said.
According to him, the commitment of the Institution serves as an ideal opportunity to foster collaborations, promote knowledge transfer and explore tangible initiatives that will further our goals.
Dr Sadiq Umar, Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Develeopment (CSTD), said the government should fix infrastructure to discourage the brain drain across sectors of the economy.
According to Umar, Nigerians remain outstanding across the globe in any field of their endeavour and bringing them back home will help develop our systems, especially concerning security issues.
Highlight of the conference was the induction of some members of Nigerian Universities Engineering Students’ Association (NUESA) of the University of Abuja to the NISEng Student Chapter.