By Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it recognises the growing requests for the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), better known as drones, leading to its proliferation in Nigeria.
It has therefore issued safety guidelines to check its use in the country’s airspace.
Accordingly, NCAA has directed that no government agency, organisation or individual will launch a drone 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 regulatory body noted that in recent times, drones are being deployed for commercial and recreational purposes in the country without adequate security clearance.
“Therefore with the preponderance of these operations particularly in a non-segregated airspace, there has to be proactive safety guidelines.
“The development of the use of RPA nationwide has emerged with somewhat predictable safety concerns and security threats.
“The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is yet to publish Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), as far as certification and operation of civil use of RPA is concerned,” NCAA said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye.
The agency added it had 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).
“Therefore no government agency, organisation or 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 authority said.
NCAA also reiterated that all applicants and holders of permits to operate RPA/Drones must strictly be guided by safety guidelines.
In addition, it noted that operators must ensure strict compliance with the conditions stipulated in their permits and the requirements of the Nig.CARs, warning that violators will be sanctioned according to the dictates of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs).