Nigerian Teenagers build and launch local rocket as rehearsal for launching satelite into space, if encouraged

A seventeen year old boy, Gideon Emenike who hail Imo State has caused a stir in Umuchime Ubahu community in Okigwe Local Government when he successfully launched a “rocket” built from locally made materials.

The rocket, which was supposed to travel five kilometres, went further than programmed and landed in a residential area, causing a stampede.

The residents of the house where the rocket landed, alerted the police, thinking it was a bomb.

Gideon Emenike told the press that he does not have any criminal intentions but his love for science and technology especially in the area of aeronautics engineering spurred him and his partner to develop the said rocket.

While on inspection to the compound where the rocket landed, the state Police Commissioner Mohammed Katsina said on getting the information of the incident, the command anti bomb squad swung into action to detect the location.

He exonerated the boy of any criminal or terrorist intentions. He further praised the boy’s skill insisting it was a prowess in science and technology.

He however said preliminary investigations showed that even as the teenagers were reckless in their conduct, they had neither criminal motive nor terrorist intentions, rather they are adventurous and skillful teenagers who are gifted in science and technology.

He called on residents of Umuchime Ubahu community in Okigwe local government area to remain calm and resume their normal business as the command’s anti bomb squad has deactivated a propelled rocket, adding that the element has been certified and it does not contain any toxic or radio-active material. Said he;

“The boys are just between 16 and 17 years old. They only tried out their learning while in the secondary school. They wanted to know if they can practicalise the theories they learnt in school. The dream of these young boys is to design a spacecraft. It was launched without funfair. “The device went some kilometres into the sky before crash-landing. Let us not forget that the command has some formidable structures on ground. We have since commenced the sweeping of Imo State of all explosive ordinances. I want these boys to be encouraged. May be, who knows tomorrow, at my old age, I may be the lucky one that would fly in the spacecraft made by these young lads.

“So, I would rather not think of punitive measures against the boys. I would rather dwell heavily on protection, rehabilitation and encouragement of these young boys. Those who ran away are free to come back. From this moment, we have ended this case.

*See Video Below of News Coverage and CP Mohammed Katsina addressing the boys

Gideon speaks: “My name is Gideon Chiadikobi Emenike and my friend’s name is Chibuisi Nwafor. I studied in Federal Government College, Okigwe and I graduated last year. This project started when I was still in school. I was told to build a project in school for a competition.

“In my SS1, I built a helicopter. In my SS2, I was told to build another project. I built this rocket and we went for a competition in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. I came second in the competition with the project. This was at the national level.

“We also went for another competition organised by the Society for Science and Technology. I also came second. I also went for Olympiad and I equally came second there. I was told that I was going to represent Nigeria in Brazil but later, my principal said that I was no longer going to represent the country.

“I still don’t know why the principal cancelled the trip. This frustrated me somehow but later, I picked up from where I dropped and started again. I now met my friend at a learning centre. I found out that he has for things related to science. We now pooled our brains together. “That was how we planned to build a rocket and a satellite, as well as sending it into space. It was an amateur satellite because you know we have not yet university graduates.

Tennagers LaunchLocal Rocket1

LEFT: The CP holding aloft the locally made rocket after it crash-landed. RIGHT: The teenagers who built and launched it

The CP holding aloft the rocket after it crashlanded -

We just graduated from secondary school last year. “We have done this for now. I was really challenged when I heard that other countries were planning to launch satellites into space. It made me to think deep. This is what pushed to do what you are seeing today. If government can adopt our technology, we can help them to actualize their dream of launching a satellite.

“This particular project was a mere attempt to reach a particular altitude. It was not fashioned to remain in space. This project came through after several experiments. If the Federal Government can sponsor us, we can take Nigeria to any level they want.

The boy’s father speaks

“My name is Friday Mgbemena Emenike. My son is curious about science. He got admission in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, the last time. I tried to make him to study medicine but he rejected it and preferred to read aeronautic engineering. That was why he refused the admission. That is why he is still at home.

“He got an opportunity to travel to Brazil but the principal of his former school frustrated the move. He is intelligent. I am aware of this incident. When it happened, I didn’t feel too good till I learnt that the thing did not kill anybody and that it did not destroy anything. That increased my joy and I described it as the first victory.


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