Nigeria and India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.
The agreement signing was witnessed by Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja, and India’s Minister of External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan who participated in the event via a video link. Also present were the Director-General of Nigeria’s National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Francis Chizea who signed the MoU earlier endorsed by his counterpart, the Chairman of the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr. K Sivan, with the ISRO Scientific Secretary, R. Umamaheswaran as a witness via a video link from its headquarters in Bengaluru.
The need for the MoU comes arises from the observation that in the past twelve years about forty-nine Nigerians participated in various short term Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme courses related to space exploration – including remote sensing, GIS and GeoInformatics conducted by the India Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradum; the Geological Survey of India Training Institute and the Center for Development of Advanced Computing, Noida in India. The MoU will strengthen India’s capacity-building assistance to Nigeria.
It further provides for the exchange of scientific know-how, exchanges between academic institutions of both countries and joint symposiums and conferences that will benefit Nigeria’s agriculture, forestry, mining, connectivity, and engender watershed development.
Both countries further agreed to sign a supplemental MoU on partnership in the use of geospatial technology between the New Space India Limited (NSIL) under ISRO and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Development and Connectivity.