PRESIDENT JONATHAN INAUGURATES NATIONAL SPACE COUNCIL
Posted on June 12, 2013
His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Inauguration of the National Space Council
Abuja. June 11, 2013
It is a great pleasure for me to be with you all today as we formally inaugurate the National Space Council.
2. Two years ago, that is 2011, our nation’s space programme witnessed unprecedented developments. It was a year in which some of the major objectives which informed the establishment of the National Space and Development Agency were accomplished.
3. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I refer in particular to the mandate to develop satellite technology for various applications; operationalise indigenous space systems for providing space services; and the launch of satellites.
4. The year 2011 saw the launch of two earth observation satellites one of which, NigeriaSat-X, was designed and built by Nigerian engineers and scientists. This is a feat worthy of celebration!
5. The National Space Council is the apex body charged with the responsibility of developing policy guidelines for our activities in Space. It also has the vital role of monitoring the implementation of the National Space Programme.
6. In reiterating our Administration’s unwavering commitment to the actualisation of the definitive goal of our space programme, I would like to charge the members of the Space Council to evolve ways of enabling the country maximally benefit from our huge investments in the development of space technology.
7. Given the critical place of space technology in the areas of national security, communications, industrialisation and sustained socio-economic development, the critical need to properly structure and drive our national space programme cannot be over-emphasised. This informs why our Administration has constituted this Council with high calibre membership.
8. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we must evolve clear cut initiatives that will not only fast-track our industrialisation process, but one that will also see us, within the shortest possible period, able to build our own motor vehicles, our own boats, and our own aircraft; and of course, launch our own satellite manufactured in Nigeria from a launch site in Nigeria on a launch vehicle made in Nigeria.
9. This is a challenge not only to the members of the Council, but to all Nigerians. We should rededicate ourselves to building a better, technologically advanced, stable and prosperous Nigeria for our children.
10. I thank all the members of the National Space Council for accepting to serve the Fatherland. While congratulating you, I wish to charge you to work hard to justify the confidence which the nation has invested in you by bringing all your worthy attributes to bear on the discharge of this national assignment. You can be assured of the full support of the Federal Government at all times.
11. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to formally inaugurate the National Space Council to the glory of God, and the accelerated growth and enduring development of our nation.
12. Thank you.
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BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – It is often stated in the military that less than one percent of the American people serve, in order to encourage U.S. service members to take pride in their service.
Some of the service members who give their time to serve the U.S. aren’t U.S. citizens, like U.S. Army Pvt. Robby Paz, who recently became a U.S. citizen at a naturalization ceremony on Bagram Airfield, July 4.
Paz was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and grew up in El Salvador. He moved to Pasadena, Calif., in 1999 and graduated from John Muir High School in 2011. In August 2012, Paz enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman.
“I wanted to do something that I could be proud of,” said Paz. “I wanted to be a part of freedom. Not just be part of it, but fight for it.”
In November 2012, he began the process of becoming a naturalized citizen of the U.S. At that time, not assigned to a permanent duty station yet, he said he never thought he’d be naturalized while serving overseas.
Stationed at Combat Outpost Dashe Towp, Wardak province, Paz is now serving with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and is currently the driver for his platoon leader.
“We usually try to pick the most experienced people that we trust to actually drive since the terrain is not exactly user friendly,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kenton Gottshall, a squad leader with Co. A. “It’s a pretty big responsibility for him since he is the lowest ranking driver that we have.”
Inspite of being the lowest ranking driver, he is a valuable member of the team.
“Serving with him, I’d have him by my side any day of the week out in combat,” said Gottshall, a Woodstock, Ga., native.
The process to become a U.S. citizen is no easy task, especially while serving in combat overseas.
“By virtue of their current honorable service deployed overseas, they are given the privilege of taking the oath of citizenship overseas,” said Walter Haith, field office director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Manila, Philippines.
“Once they make their application, the application is vetted for a series of checks,” said Haith. “After those checks are clear, those applications are presented to us so that we can schedule and conduct an interview. During the interview, we ask a number of questions as to their personal and professional history and make sure that they understand the oath of citizenship that they are to take.”
Thirty-seven service members, including Paz, completed the requirements to become naturalized at the ceremony on Independence Day.
The service members recited the oath of allegiance and then the Pledge of Allegiance before receiving their certificates.
“Being naturalized on the 4th of July here at Bagram, is amazing,” said Paz. “It’s unique. I wasn’t expecting it. This is pretty outstanding.”
“For him to step up, put our uniform on and do our job before he even became a naturalized citizen just shows that he actually wanted it more than probably anybody else, and he is most deserving to have become a citizen today,” said Gottshall.
Paz attributes his success to his mother, Elsy Ortiz, a hard-working, single mom who raised him.
“I thank her for everything; for the opportunities she gave me,” said Paz.
He said his mom would often tell him, “Don’t let anyone set a limit on you. Go as far as you can and don’t ever give up.”
Please ensure that you do not bring pets or animals to the Welcome Home Ceremony.
-All Fort Benning Welcome Home Ceremonies will be held at Freedom Hall at Lawson Army Airfield on Fort Benning, GA.
To get to Freedom Hall from I-185, follow I-185 South onto Fort Benning. Stay on the expressway on Fort Benning until it ends. When it ends, bear right on to First Division Road. At the golf course,stay left on Dixie Road (do not turn right and follow First Division Road). Follow Dixie Road until you see the airfield. Turn right on Jecelin Road and follow it to a left turn on Indianhead Road. Once on Indianhead Road, look for parking. Freedom Hall is the Passenger
All Welcome Home Ceremony times are subject to change based on the flight. Please contact your Soldier’s unit at one of the numbers listed below for more details.
3D SQUADRON, 1ST CAVALRY (706)544-1222 OR 1-877-590-0145
3D BDE BRIGADE SUPPORT TROOP BATTALION (BSTB)
203D BRIGADE SUPPORT BATTALLION (706)544-3220 OR 1-866-258-8828
2D BN, 69TH ARMOR REGIMENT (706)544-2211 OR 1-800-503-4971
1ST BN, 15TH INFANTRY REGIMENT (706)544-3808 OR 1-877-282-9492
1ST BN, 10TH FLD ARTILLERY REGT (706)544-4554 OR 1-877-572-7924
-Information HOTLINE number is: 1-877-276-6223.
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