Friday, August 09, 2013

Now Britain forks out foreign aid for Nigeria to join the space race

A rocket carrying a Nigerian satellite blasts off from a launch pad in China

Nigeria has the second highest national income of all African countries yet is set to receive £275million from the UK this year alone, with a further yearly average of £250 million until 2015.

Despite almost 70 per cent of the population living on less then 64p a day, the country intends to send astronauts into space in the next two years.

Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has built laboratories and plans to launch its own rockets by 2028.

The exact cost of the space program has not been released by the Nigerian Government but is thought to be hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

The country’s space programme got off to a disastrous start in 2003, when its first satellite disappeared from orbit after losing power.

But NASRDA now has three satellites that were built by its own engineers.

NigComSat- 1R, NigeriaSat- 2 and NigeriaSat- X, are now all in orbit after being launched on Russian rockets.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Backbench Tory MP Philip Davies said it is not viable to give aid to Nigeria while it was spending money on such a project.

He said: “We cannot go around the world saying ‘don’t worry, we will feed your public for you while you waste your money on all sorts of other projects’.

“We have got to say to these countries ‘you have got to spend that money on your people where it’s most needed not on some grandiose space programme’.

“We are against welfare dependency at home but at the same time we are encouraging welfare dependency abroad.”

Aid to the country is set to increase 116 per cent, seeing a rise from 141million in 2010/11 to £305million in 2014/15.

The controversy comes two days after senior Ukip politician Godfrey Bloom said Britain should stop sending money to “bongo bongo land”.

A spokesman for the Department for International Development said: “Our investment goes into health, education and poverty reduction programmes.

Nigeria is home to a quarter of the poorest people in Africa. Supporting their Development will benefit our trade and security.

-------Benjamin Russell
Express UK Friday, August 9, 2013
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