Lagos – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has dispatched five people from Bayelsa State to Geneva for training on how to man its satellite hub to be located in the State. The instrument is to be used in monitoring the volatile Niger Delta region.
The scheme which is a United Nations response to the insecurity and oil spills will also help to monitor other geological problems in the region. The project will cost the United Nations and Bayelsa State government both of which are in partnership for the scheme about $700,000 (about N82.6 million).
A statement from UNITAR office in Port Harcourt said it was part of the capacity building the institute has beenundertaking in the region. the course is expected to prepare the participants to be able to train others when they return to the country.
The scheme is called “BAYELSAT” project and involves the setting up of the monitoring hub of he United Nations Satellite imagery system in the State. Similar facilities would be set up in other places where similar monitoring would be done.
Speaking to THISDAY on the project, Mr. Larry Boms, the Chief UNITAR Officer in Nigeria said similar training would be extended to selected candidates from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Rivers States in due course.
“So far, Bayelsa indigenes have been sent to Geneva by UNITAR for preliminary training in the management of BAYELSAT project equipments. This time the training will last for one month after which the trainees from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Rivers States would also be sent for training in due course.
“The BAYELSAT imagery is a geographical information system (GIS) which integrates hardware, software and data capturing, managing, analyzing and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. Easy access to reliable and updated information is a key element for a more effective policy decision-making, coordination and monitoring”, he said.
Explaining further, Boms said the plan was to build the capacity of local people to utilise satellite application in certain issues since the system will serve as early warning systems during natural and man made disasters.
Other areas where the satellite system is expected to make a difference include monitoring “pipeline vandalism, oil and coastal pollution and erosion, population increase and declassification around production and transport areas, loss of livelihood and biodiversity; and risk and vulnerability to natural disaster assessment”.