The Nigerian Communications Satelite (Nigcomsat) is unable to facilitate the tracking and detection of terrorist activities by insurgents in the Northeast and other criminal elements around the country due to its design specification which is purely for communication purposes.
The Managing Director of the company, Mrs. Abimbola Alale stated this while briefing members of the House of Representatives Representatives committee on Information and Communications Technology which paid an oversight visit to the organisation.
Mrs. Abimbola said the mandate of Nigcomsat is basically to facilitate digital communication ranging from provision of bandwidth to mobile phone service providers, providing back-up services for companies into communication in the event that their fibre optic dependent platform fails as an assurer of continuity.
She said: “We do not have the capability to pick activities in the field regarding monitoring of insurgents, and other criminal elements because of the design specification of the satellite which is purely a communication platform”.
“The task and capability of imaging and tracking of activities in parts of the country is the duty of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) using the Nigerian Sat One, which was launched before Nigcomsat to monitor weather pattern, natural disaster and other earthly activities being carried out in different locations within the country”, she said.
She revealed that if availed the necessary funding for facility upgrade and and procurement of the ones lacking, the company can double its revenue base in the 2016 fiscal year.
Speaking on the company’s involvement in the N76billion police Close Circuit Television (CCTv) project, said, “we were not part of the award process. We were only called in to ensure that the contract was executed in line with specification”.
She added that her organisation has the staff strength of about 376 work force who cuts across the length and breadth of Nigeria with no issue whatsoever with the Federal Character Commission.
She said the company recently achieved the feat of winning the bid to manage the Bela-Russian satellite by showing capacity and efficiency, adding that being a new entrant into a very competitive market, Nigcomsat had to lower its charge to make its bid attractive, which paid off.
Members after being conducted round the facilities expressed satisfaction with the progress being made, urging that the Federal Government prioritises the acquisition and launch of a second satellite with a view to boosting the confidence of subscribers and enhance revenue generation of the company.
The committee chairman, Hon. Mohammed Onawo Ogoshi from Nasarawa State told newsmen that the committee took cognisance of the need for a second satellite which was why it made effort to ensure that the funding needed for the execution of the project was approved in the 2016 budget.