The Many Lies Of Prof. R. A. Boroffice, Director-General, National Space Research And Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja
Nigerian SSTL-KHTT engineers
This article has been compiled by a good percentage of the 15 young Nigerian engineers trained at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), UK between 2001 and 2003. The writers are reachable via e-mail and the facts presented are verifiable by evidence in NASRDA and CSTD (centre for satellite technology development), Abuja; which if looked at will be clearly seen.
Prof. Robert Ajayi Boroffice stands today in the belief that he is the one who has made and is making the Nigeria Space program happen. How we wish this were so. At least, it would have been good for our dear and beloved country: Nigeria. However, Boroffice is just busy deceiving Nigerians as his involvement in the space programme is for personal aggrandisement and because he has no clear vision on how to develop and deliver space technology to the nation other then playing the role of a contractor.
We proceed to ask some vital questions:
1. WHY IS IT THAT TODAY, A GOOD PERCENTAGE OF THE 15 TRAINED ENGINEERS ARE NO LONGER WITH NASRDA?
2. WHY IS IT THAT THE NIGERIAN GROUNDSTATION IN ABUJA HAS NOT BEEN OPERATIONAL FOR THE PAST SIX MONTHS, LEAVING NIGERIASAT-1 SOLELY UNDER THE OPERATIONAL BACK-UP OF SSTL, UK?
3. WHAT TANGIBLE BENEFIT HAS THE NATION REAPED FROM NIGERIASAT-1 IN QUANTITATIVE TERMS, COMPARED WITH THE POTENTIAL OF THE SATELLITE?
4. WHAT USEFUL SOFTWARE HAS NASRDA BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE SINCE 2001/2003 AS A RESULT OF ITS ACQUISITION OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY?
5. WHAT USEFUL HARDWARE (OR ELECTRONICS) HAS NASRDA BEEN ABLE TO MANUFACTURE AS A RESULT OF ITS ACQUISITION OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY SINCE 2001/2003?
The answers to all these questions are not far-fetched and are verifiable by evidence clearly obvious in NASRDA and CSTD today.
The 15 young engineers trained by NASRDA all returned back to the country after more than a year training received in the United Kingdom. It is of note that it wasnít the Ďtreatmentí accorded to them by Prof. Boroffice whilst they were abroad that made this happen but because they were committed to serving their nation and also because the Minister of Science and Technology fulfilled the promises he made, after his visit to them towards the end of their training. In fact, they actually had to source funds individually to pay their air fares back to the country, before being refunded much later on by NASRDA. What other way is there to show patriotism?
For more than a year, these young engineers made it possible for Boroffice to make his name and fame. However, this was at their own expense. What with meager salaries, no laboratories, no research, no development programme and even the efforts by some to completely deemphasize the expertise they had acquired. The D.G of NASRDA was busy sharing and awarding contracts to his cronies, yet the Nigerian Space program which gave birth to the nationís first satellite had begun to decay from itís very roots. It was absolutely an atmosphere of deprivation and hopelessness that was created in the mind of these young lads. Is it therefore any surprise that NASRDA, under Boroffice, produces nothing tangible for Nigerians today, other than spending their money?
Not only was there no plan for developing what had been learnt, there was also no commitment from the D.G to the fact that the training received needed to be passed on to others. We know that the groundstation engineers personally took the initiative to train others for up to a one-year period on hands-on groundstation and satellite operations. This was actually more than the training they received from SSTL, since they had no groundstation to operate with as at then. Even the D.G often boasted as much before politicians, government functionaries and visitors to the satellite centre that he now had others who were adequately trained to man the groundstation.
It is clear that the D.G was so pleased with the launch of NigeriaSat-1, that he quickly forgot the need to consolidate on the KHTT (know-How Transfer and Training) acquired. Rather, he preferred to embark on new projects which will bring in more monetary dividends to his personal purse. We agree that new projects are needed; however, we consider it a disservice to our nation to treat with utter disregard the chance of a lifetime in consolidating on technology which has been transferred to the nation. As we write, we very much doubt if any of the 15 engineers remaining at NASRDA remember that which they learned at SSTL, U.K. This is because for over 2Ĺ years after their return back from U.K, they have not put their knowledge to active use. Most of these engineers are now intimidated, demoralized and looking for any way out.
Due to the atmosphere of deep frustration created by the D.G NASRDA due to his lack of vision and purpose (or could we say his naivety to technology development) for over 15 months after the return of these 15 engineers, a good percentage of them decided that they were better off developing themselves further by enlisting for postgraduate studies abroad in their respective fields of interest, without any resources whatsoever from NASRDA. Some of them decided to resign and call it quits as they didnít see their future being guaranteed under the administration of Boroffice. And what was the response of Boroffice? INTIMIDATION, PERSECUTION AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS.
One would have an idea of the obsession of the D.G, NASRDA who went ahead, without considering the immaturity and falsehood involved, to write to the Ministry of Justice that those who left have absconded from NASRDA (as though slaves) and have stolen computer hardware and software (which NASRDA has never produced; nor has SSTL ever installed software on our personal laptops, bought from DELL computers in the U.K). To add to our surprise, his false allegations also say that they (either directly or indirectly) are capable of using this software (which only exists in his vague imagination) to crash and de-orbit NigeriaSat-1. Why would any one want to do this? And HOW could any one do this without a groundstation built for this purpose and without the security codes embedded into the satellite by SSTL technology, tried and tested with technology transfer programmes to various nations over many years? This begs a question on the engineering background of Boroffice himself. He is obviously using these blatant lies to cover his tracks of technological inexperience and incompetence.
It is a pity that (as we write), Prof. R.A Boroffice has used his influence to hijack a warrant of arrest from the powers that be, with the malicious objective of truncating the progress, careers and future of those who left. Boroffice is obviously obsessed with this devilish idea which has absolutely no basis nor truth in it other than vendetta against them because they left. He is trying vehemently to destroy great minds that Nigeria has produced, forgetting that these represent the future of our nation. However, let him know that he will never succeed in his diabolical plans. Nigeria, Nigerians and the National Space program shall move forward and all bad elements can only end up being relegated to where they belong: the dustbins of history.
His incompetence and lack of goodwill we believe brought about the hard luck that befell the Nigerian Satellite Groundstation, Abuja in February 2005 when the rotator and servo-mechanisms of the groundstation dish antenna developed problems and would not work. This was already bound to happen due to the unreliable backup arrangements made for power supply to the groundstation. Despite the heavy budget that the director-general makes for the groundstation at Asokoro, much less than 10% is actually used to maintain the place. A similar groundstation at SSTL, U.K has been kept in round-the-clock operation for many years with very few downtimes. The Abuja groundstation which was designed for a 24/7 operation is inadvertently power-cycled numerous times over (without the shutting down of active hardware and software) because the back-up arrangement for power supply (in the event of power failure) is very poor.
It is no surprise that the D.G was unable to rectify the situation for a whole six months. As we write, the groundstation has been unable to operate NigeriaSat-1 since February 2005. Boroffice goes about through the media talking of what he is doing with the satellite, a satellite being kept in operation presently via the back-up groundstation at SSTL, UK (Thank God for that!). How can Nigeria develop its own indigenous satellite under an inept leader like Boroffice? We need people with a vision, who can take up responsibility and do the right things at the right time. We need people who mean well for the national space program, not their personal space programme. We need a true leader, not a bully who delights in reaping from where he has not sown.
We conclude this article with the hope than someone in government will read this and take the necessary actions. We are God-fearing and law-abiding citizens of our great nation. We are proud to have contributed to the National Space programme and we will continue to be available in the future when our nation needs us. We might be small today, but we refuse to be trampled upon. By the grace of the almighty God, we will reach the place of our dreams and contribute our own quota to our beloved country.
By Nigerian SSTL-KHTT engineers