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By NBF News
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OUT-GOING Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Mohammed Kaoje Abubakar, has urged officials of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited to close ranks by maintaining peace.

The minister spoke at the weekend in Abuja when he received in audience the board of NIGCOMSAT led by former Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Turner Isoun.

In a veiled reference to the bickering and altercations of top officials of the two agencies over supremacy, Prof. Abubakar affirmed his commitment to ensuring that NIGCOMSAT attains a full-fledged parastatal status under the Science and Technology Ministry 'to erase doubts as to its legal status' 'by asking the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dere Awosika, to engage all concerned to ensure that 'this is achieved' within the shortest possible time.

The minister said it was out of place for NASRDA to create the impression 'that it is the singular authority to launch satellites in Nigeria', adding that this could potentially prevent any smooth enterprise in the sector.

He said the proper thing to do was for NASRDA to seek ways of cooperating with NIGCOMSAT Limited to actualise the plan for space development and national growth.

Abubakar said he was satisfied with the work of NIGCOMSAT Managing Director, Ahmed Rufai, hence his recommendation for a fresh four-year term to the President in June last year.

The minister enjoined the management of both agencies to cooperate and work in harmony, ensuring that peace reigned for the good of Nigeria and asked the NIGCOMSAT Isoun to see that through during his tenure.

The minister said he had goodwill towards all the agencies under his command.

Earlier in his remarks, Isoun, who led NIGCOMSAT Managing Director, Ahmed Rufai, Abimbola Alale (director) and Irene Ekweozoh (secretary) on the courtesy visit, said the visit to the minister was to acknowledge the reality that NIGCOMSAT was and remained an entity under the Ministry of Science and Technology despite misconceived perception arising from the board's inauguration by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

Isoun said the company had done well and particularly praised Rufai's tenacity for putting together an assemblage of over 100 engineers trained in the field of satellite operations and his ability to engage these professionals in the production of various innovative products through an enabling environment.

Isoun listed some of these innovative products to include but not limited to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Staff Attendance and Access Control System (SAACS), electronic voting (e-voting) platform that was demonstrated to INEC in August 2010.