By Sunday Ochai (Abuja)
Dr Francis Chizea, Ag DG NASRDA
When Dr Francis Dubem Chizea joined the Federal Civil Service on August 21, 1991 as a Scientific Officer II at the Ministry of Science and Technology, little did he knows that one day he would head a top federal government agency.
But with sheer hard work and perseverance, he now sits at the helm of affairs of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) which he joined at its inception on May 5, 1999 as one its pioneer/ Management staff.
During Dr. Chizea’s 21 years of service at NASRDA he has held various positions. These include: Chief Scientific Officer, Earth Observation, Assistant Director Space Systems and Head of Department, Deputy Director, Business Intelligence and Head of Department, Deputy Director Space System and Head of Department, Director, Space Systems and Head of Department, Head, Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit, Secretary, Technical Advisory Committee and Director, International Cooperation and Head of Department.
Others are Director, Planning Policy and Research and Head of Department- The position he held before his appointment as Acting Director General of the organisation.
There are also major achievements of Dr Chizea during his 21 years at NASRDA. They include Project Manager for the design, building and launch of Nigeria’s first satellite (Nigeriasat-1), which was launched into orbit in 2003. He also handled the construction, commissioning and management of the Ground Receiving station for the Nigeriasat-1 satellite. This function also included the day to day monitoring, control, tasking and downloading of data from the Nigerisat-1 satellite.
Besides, he was also the Project Manager for the design, building and launch of the second and third Nigeria’s earth observation satellites namely, the Nigeriasat-2 and Nigeriasat-X respectively. These also included the construction, commissioning and management of the Mission Control Centre for the two satellites. He also oversees the day to day monitoring, control, tasking and downloading of data from the two satellites, served on the Committee that drafted the 25 Year Roadmap for the implementation of the approve National Space Policy and Programme as well as Nigeria Project Manager for Disaster Monitoring Constellation: Under this umbrella he managed Nigerian contribution of satellite data to the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters during events South East Asian Tsunami in 2006 and the Hurricane Katrina in the US.
That is not all, he coordinates the participation of Nigeria at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Sub-Committees for the past 14 years, was a member of the African Union Working Group on Space Science and Technology. This is the Working Group responsible for the drafting of the African Space Policy and Strategy that was approved by the Heads of African States in January, 2016 and served on many local and international Committees and Research Groups in various capacities.
Dr. Chizea is presently the first Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, a position bestowed on him on the recommendation of the African Group Task Force on Space Science and Technology in Vienna, Austria
Dr. Chizea is a world-renowned Researcher and Scholar who holds a PhD in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He currently serves as adjourn Professor on the Faculty of the International Space University, Strasbourg, France and has over forty (40) publications to his credit.
On the completion of the National Defence College Course 20 in year 2012, Dr Chizea was awarded the Fellowship of the prestigious National Defence College of Nigeria. He is also a Fellow of the Astronomical Society of Nigeria and a Member of Nigeria Institute of Management.
He is from Onicha-Olona in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. He is happily married and blessed with four children