By Louis Iba
The Federal Government has banned the arbitrary launch of drones into the country’s airspace without official permission saying it would apply requisite sanctions on perpetrators. The government said the rise in recent years in the use of unlicenced drones either in the form of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) posed grave consequences to national security and had to be stopped. In a statement on Sunday by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, all persons or corporate establishments wishing to launch drones into the country’s airspace for whatever reasons were ordered to obtain licences from both the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Part of the NCAA statement read: “The development of the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) nationwide has emerged with somewhat predictable safety concerns and security threats to Nigeria, “In recent times, these RPA and UAV are being deployed for commercial and recreational purposes in the country without adequate security clearance. “Therefore mo government agency, organisation or an individual will launch an RPA/UAV in the Nigerian airspace for any purpose whatsoever without obtaining requisite approvals/permit from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Office of National Security Adviser (NSA),” the statement added.
The NCAA regulates the aviation sector on behalf of the Nigerian government. The NCAA said the proliferation of drones in Nigeria had necessitated some form of safety guidelines or regulations from the NCAA or the office of the NSA.
“With the preponderance of these operations particularly in a non – segregated airspace, there has to be proactive safety guidelines,” the NCAA said.
“The NCAA has therefore put in place Regulations/Advisory Circular to guide the certification and operations of civil RPA in the Nigerian airspace. This is contained in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015 Part 220.127.116.11) and Implementing Standards (Nig.CARs 2015 Part IS.18.104.22.168). “Operators must ensure strict compliance with the conditions stipulated in their permits and the requirements. Violators shall be sanctioned,” the NCAA concluded.