The Federal Government of Nigeria will soon come up with a “simple policy” to regulate the use of drones for private and commercial purposes across the country. This was made known by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, today at the weekly State House briefing in Abuja.
According to the Minister, the absence of regulation for drone usage has the potential to cause untold disasters within the civil aviation space. He classified any “remotely piloted aircraft now and unmanned beings or aircraft” as a drone and said some across the country have been known to flying at about 500ft above ground level and at about 65km per hour.
Mr Sirika explained to the media that the government is concerned that “Everybody is flying drones now” and mostly for good uses. There is a need to control its use before it constitutes a serious safety and security concern.
“Very soon, we will find our airspace dotted with all these crafts and managing them alone will become such a huge challenge because they will be operating around the airspace and somebody needs to control them“, he said.
The minister noted that as the supreme arbiter, the Government has the responsibility to “develop a policy for remotely piloted aircraft to have them organised and regulated” to prevent future chaos. “We are policy-makers and we will make policies that will keep our country safe and secure“, he added.
Speaking on the nature of the regulation, the minister said:
“The policy is going to be very simple: just like you walk in and buy the drones and also be able to follow those rules and regulations even if you are an enthusiast.”
This is not the first time the Nigerian government has hinted at drone regulation. Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) disclosed that it will issue new regulations to guide the use of spectrum for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones in the country during a stakeholders’ consultative forum on the regulation of drones held in Lagos in December 2019.
The NCC said that it was reviewing the guidelines on the use of 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz bands to accommodate the emerging technology hence the need to deliberate with operators, investors and other stakeholders.
Here is a link to the application form issued at that time.