The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said the Federal Government would use aerial vehicles to survey the Trans-African highway.
The first phase of the project will stretch from the Lagos-Abuja corridor, all the way to Ivory Coast.
Fashola spoke at a meeting with the management of the African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
He noted that AFRIGIST was of vital importance to Africa due to its role in mapping and other areas of geospatial and geographic information production and management.
The Institute is also involved in photogrammetry, photo-interpretation and airborne geophysical surveys.
Fashola said, “We want to bring in some aerial vehicles to do aerial survey for the Lagos-Abuja highway corridor that is connecting Nigeria through Seme border to Benin, all the way to Ivory Coast; that is the first phase.”
He added that the next phase of the project would stretch to Dakar in Senegal.
The survey is part of the construction of nine Trans-African highways.
Fashola observed that mapping and surveying were very important to the success of the project.
In the same vein, the minister noted that AFRIGIST, which is hosted by Nigeria, was “very important to unlocking the wealth of Africa” through its activities.
He added that the institute was also relevant in efforts aimed at addressing insecurity as well as in warfare.
“The security apparatus that will be deployed in the future will be increasingly technology-based and their effectiveness depends a lot on geospatial data,” he said.
Fashola added that the institute deserved the support of all stakeholders.
Executive Director of AFRIGIST, Adewale Akingbade, in an interview with journalists, said drones and aerial vehicles would be deployed for 24-hour surveillance at the borders.
He said, “The major issue to address here is security to ensure that they don’t bring in wrong things into the country, and making sure that people do no import what they are not supposed to.
“Drones and aerial vehicles will be used for 24 hours monitoring along the borders.
“The in thing now is the UAV which can give you real time information.”
He explained that the institute supported security agencies with relevant information.
AFRIGIST was established in 1972 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa for training of highly skilled manpower in geospatial information science and technology, and its applications.