A Professor of Remote Sensing Applications at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Joseph Akinyede has called for an adoption of Geospatial Technology (GT) in tackling insecurity, banditry and brazen acts of terrorism ravaging the country. Professor Akinyede made the call on Tuesday, 18th January, 2022 while delivering his valedictory lecture heralding his retirement from the institution after years of meritorious service in the academia.
The don said the Nigerian Military working with relevant professionals should ensure the deepening of the deployment of relevant digital technology in the fight against banditry and other acts that breed insecurity in the land. According to him, “There is need for the military and law enforcement agencies to work together and develop and maintain an archive of time-series digital images, using Data Mining algorithm, which can be queried constantly to detect phenomenal that are “out of the ordinary”. He said the combination of this with data from police precepts or crime hotspots mapping and the deployment of drones and IP cameras will go a long way in the fight against crimes and banditry.
Akinyede, who is the Principal Investigator of a TET Fund funded Research on the “Development of a Geo-spatial Technology-Based Information System for Crime Management in Southwestern Nigeria,” called on the military and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to work together on the deployable Space-based Services for National Services (SSNS), including border controls and security within ECOWAS sub-region. He added that this will include surveillance of Nigeria’s ocean/water for monitoring, in near real time, of all vessels/ships entering and leaving Nigeria, including illegal bunkering and oil spillages.
Akinyede, who spoke on the topic, “From Earth to Space and Space to Earth: Unraveling Man’s Quest for Improved Livelihood,” said “the imperative of the use of GT to tackle the problems of national security cannot be overemphasized. To achieve a sustainable space-enabled economic growth and national security in all areas of security challenges, building of requisite capacity in the development and applications of GT and Information Communication Technology (ICT), particularly at the secondary and tertiary education levels, has become imperative. The government should take urgent step to implement the curricula prepared for space sciences at both the primary and secondary levels.”
Speaking on the importance of space to the world economy he said “space is increasingly becoming a major force shaping the development of the global economy and the progress of many nations. It is a critical enabler for many key economic activities connecting us to a global network of information, communication and navigation systems. Our quality of lives, business and commercial competitiveness and security are more than ever dependent on the global reach, resilience and efficiency of satellite networks.” The don added that indigenization of satellite technology in Nigeria is the only way to provide operational services, in terms of direct benefits and spinoffs for industrial applications on a continuous basis, and impact education in hygiene and health, especially the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and its variants currently ravaging the world.
Professor Akinyede, a former Director of Centre for Space Research and Applications, (CESRA FUTA), and a one-time Best Director of the year said deliberate efforts should be made by the National Space Research and Development Agency’s (NASRDA), GeoApps and NigcomSat Ltd. to encourage Public Private Participation (PPP) in the space programme, especially investment in the downstream sectors of the space programme, which include industrial applications of spinoffs, applications in the Maritime Industry, Broadcasting and Fixed Broadband Services, Transportation Management, Precision Agriculture, Tourism and Security services.”
The don also called for the passage of the National Geospatial Data Infrastructure (NGDI) bill before the Senate and House of Representatives on ICT-enabled infrastructures to create opportunity for geo-information acquisition for sustainable socio-economic development and private sector participation in the space enterprise.
Akinyede stressed the importance of space technology in the global arena and urged Nigeria to join the league of developed nations. “The imperative of space technology as an engine of growth and economic development strategy cannot be over emphasized. Countries that have or use this technology, such as the United States of America, Russia, Japan, European countries, Israel and Canada are now at the forefront of influencing global issues. Similarly, countries like China and India which hitherto are considered as developing countries, have achieved enormous leverage through space technology programmes to which they have committed huge resources. Both countries are now being classified as emerging world powers. It has become necessary to reposition Nigeria’s space programme for maximum benefits with applications in all areas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular using it to meet the national security challenges” he added.
The Chairman at the event and Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape said FUTA is blessed with great intellectuals who have continued to add value to human capital development. He described Professor Akinyede as a great asset to the university and Nigeria having served his nation meritoriously in different capacities and in several institutions.
Fuwape wish Professor Akinyede a successful retirement from the services of the university and urged him not to relent in deploying his wealth of experience in the service of the country.