Fears as Reps probe Nigeria multibillion Naira Satellite projects

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Concerned that the Multi-Billion Naira Communication Satellites are under-utilized in space due to low patronage by Government agencies and private companies, the House of Rep has mandated its Committee on information Communication technology to investigate the matter.

Recalls that the Federal Government had contracted Kosmo – 3m Rocket from Russian Plesetsk Spaceport to launch its first Earth Observation Satellite, the Nigeria – 1 on September 17, 2003, at the cost of 30 billion; while Nigcomsat-1 was also launched in China at the cost of N200 million, but it failed in orbit in 2008 after running out of power, owing to an anomaly in its solar array.

Recall also that Nigcomsat – IR was relaunched in 2011 at no extra cost while Nigeria sat-2 and Nigeria sat X Satellite, which was built at a cost of $35 million was launched in the same year.

Acc6rding to findings by National Daily, the Federal Government since 2003, had spent about 85 billion on five (5) Satellites which were meant to provide communication data and images for government agencies and the private sector with the aim of saving billions of foreign exchange and generating revenues estimated at $ 20 billion for the country.

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In a motion sponsored by Honourable Danasabe Hosea entitled, “Need to Investigate the Non Patronage of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT)” Hosea noted that in line with the aim of the Government to diversify the nation’s economy, there is a clear need to ensure the profitability of the NIGCOMSAT instead of depending on foreign ones, hence saving scarce resources and earn much needed funds.

He argued that Nigcomsat IR has effective signal coverage of the entire country and the West African sub-region, and if Federal and States Government agencies are mandated to subscribe with the Nigerian Communications Satellite for their satellite services, the billions of Naira being expended for their satellite images needs will be conserved.

Hon. Chris Azubogu commended the mover of the Motion stating the importance of the Satellite in providing information for security, entertainment and other areas.

While adopting the motion, speaker of the House, Hon Yakubu Dogara urged the Federal Government to issue a guideline making it mandatory for agencies, both states and federal, to patronize the Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT).

The House also mandated the committee to determine the cause of non-patronage of the Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited, proffer solutions to it and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action/