Tag Archives: Nigeria

Why is no one buying time on Nigeria’s satellites?

Despite having four working communications and Earth observation satellites in orbit, Nigeria officials complain there is a lack of interest in using them by both private companies and international governments.

The reasons? Well, two Nigerian officials said this:

[The Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), Dr Spencer Onuh, told Daily Trust in an exclusive interview. “What do you want them to do when there is a failure? Let me tell you, NigComSat 1R is not enough for this country; it is not sufficient. There must be a backup. Many TV stations and even the national TV network will be very careful to transfer their services fully to NigComSat 1R because it is just one. The stations are set up for business, and they would not want anything to disrupt their services,” Dr Onu said.

He said it was not an issue of redundancy, adding that there was a need for market expansion…. He said: “Even private companies that own satellites don’t have only one. Some of them have five to six satellites, but mostly communication satellites which spin money. The return on investment is very fast but what happens in most advanced satellite countries is that these things are given out to the private sector to manage; they are not under government management and you can see the results.”

But a NIGCOMSAT official, Abdulraheem Isah Adajah, disagreed. Adajah who is the NIGCOMSAT’s General Manager, Satellite Applications, told Daily Trust that it was not entirely true that Nigcomsat1-R was recording low patronage due to lack of backup. According to him, inferiority complex and the mentality that ‘if it is Nigerian it can’t be good’ is the main reason. He called on the Federal Executive Council to come up with a policy which would make it compulsory for government agencies to patronise Nigeria’s satellites. [emphasis mine]

Typical thinking from government types. One government official lobbies for the government to build more satellites, while the other says the law should require their use. Neither seems very interested in discussing the actual lack of market demand that might be making these satellites unprofitable.

The article quotes a number of other government officials, most of whom remind me of the two above. Only one hints at the major source of the problem (the government), by noting that bickering between different Nigerian government agencies has been a factor. For example, the government agency that provides satellite television to Nigeria no longer buys time on these satellites, claiming that they have no backup should something go wrong.

It is a good thing that Nigeria is doing this. The problem is that it is their government doing it, instead of a private industry looking for profit.

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Polio returns to Nigeria

Two years after the last previous case and only one year from declaring Nigeria polio-free, two children have been diagnosed with the crippling virus.

They are going to immediately begin immunizing 5 million children in the affected region.

Coincidentally, that area has been the epicenter of an insurgency waged by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million since their fight began in 2009. During Boko Haram’s time in Borno, the group has been responsible for destroying hundreds of health centers, and has caused so much damage in some areas that it has become hard for vaccinators to do their jobs effectively.

One can’t help wondering if these new cases occurred because of this Islamic insurgency.

Posted on the road from Tucson to the Grand Canyon.

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Nigeria aims for manned space

The new colonial movement: Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology said this week that his country hopes to launch its first astronaut by 2030.

No details at all were provided, but it appears from the article that the focus here is to establish a bureaucracy, not design rockets or spaceships. I suspect they might be planning to pay a private company to put a Nigerian in space, but use this to justify creating a space agency that can be used as a vessel to provide jobs for all their friends.

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Jihadists kill thousands

bombhead

The religion of peace marches on! Thousands dead in another Boko Haram massacre in Nigeria.

District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents. “The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for poorly armed civilians in a defence group that fights Boko Haram, told the Associated Press. He said the civilian fighters gave up on trying to count all the bodies. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now,” Gava said.

The key word above is “another”. Killings like this are not a bug in Islam, they are a feature.

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Eradicating polio: not this year

The effort to eradicated polio entirely by the end of 2012 will not be met.

Afghanistan and Nigeria, two of the three remaining endemic countries, have had more cases in the first nine months of this year than in 2010 altogether. Several other countries targeted by the plan have also seen more cases to date this year compared to this time in 2010. Additionally, polio had popped up in countries where it had previously been eradicated — notably China, which went polio-free for 11 years until this summer.

Sadly, politics and culture are almost certainly the main reasons polio still survives in these countries.

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