The Director General National Space Research and Development Agency, (NASRDA) Dr Halilu Ahmad Shaba has said Nigeria’s quest in space is not an ego trip but a strategic approach to seek solutions to numerous challenges facing the country.
He made the statement during the African Regional Seminar on The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missiles Proliferation held in Abuja.
According to him, the mandate of NASRDA is to vigorously pursue the attainment of space capabilities for the socio-economic development and the improvement of the lives of Nigerians.
Dr Shaba while stressing NASRDA’s capabilities with the launch of its various satellites, said rockets were used to send these satellites into orbit using launch facilities outside the country, adding that this has necessitated the Agency to engage in rocketry research purely for peaceful purposes.
He explained that the country’s roadmap to space technology development include the attainment of capability to develop and launch satellites into space from Nigerian soil.
While commending the organizers of the event which he described as timely, Dr Shaba said The Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) does not ban ballistic missiles, but it calls for restraint in their production, testing and export, as an arrangement to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles for peace and unity within the African sub-region.
According to him, it is regarded as a multilateral code in disarmament, which has been accepted by member nations, and adopted over the years, expressing optimism that the seminar will jump start the bonding of African countries in ensuring compliance to the peaceful proposition of The Hague Code of Conduct as well as to ensure that member countries work together to achieve this goal.
The NASRDA Boss therefore implored the participants to work together as the seminar is aimed at fostering cooperation, and mapping out strategies for members within Africa for peace and development.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adamu Lamuwa who was represented by Director overseeing the Permanent Secretary’s office in the ministry, Ambassador Samson Itegboje said the seminar is aimed at promoting the activities of The Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) among English speaking countries in Africa and highlighting the contributions of the Code towards International Peace and Security.
He said Nigeria is mindful of the regional implications of ballistic missiles proliferation, adding that the nation firmly believes in the code’s principles of transparency, dialogue and international cooperation for sustainable development.
The Permanent Secretary said, the seminar serves as a veritable platform for members to unite as representatives across the African region with a common goal to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles and promote peace and stability in Africa.
According to him, adherence to the principles of the code, prove members’ dedication to a world free from the threats of dangerous weapons and filled with safety.
Amb Lamuwa said the theme for the seminar, “Dealing with missile proliferation: security and arms control perspectives” is apt, in view of the current geo-political conditions both in Europe and Africa.
This according to him will guide discussions towards realizing the objectives of the set agreement.
While expressing optimism in the success of the seminar, he opined that, since the establishment and signing into force of the Hague Code of Conduct in 2002, the number of signatories have increased from 96 to 143 subscribing states, which he described as reassuring.
This he said remains an indicator of the resolve of Member States to explore multilateral forums which allow for cooperation and exchange of views on ballistic missiles and space launch programmes for the benefit of all.
Ambassador Lamuwa explained that Nigeria adopted the Code to explore beneficial avenues in the areas of technical cooperation, training programmes, and exchange of ideas in the promotion of space development, adding that Nigeria’s commitment the Code of Conduct is for the promotion of global peace and stability.
He therefore called on Member states to continually work towards non-proliferation of ballistic missiles and sustainability of regional peace and development.
The Hague Code of Conduct is not a treaty but an agreement by member states to find solutions to and work against ballistic missiles proliferation in their various countries. Nigeria held sway as chairman from June 2022 to June 2023 and has just handed over to Republic of Ireland.
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