The federal government on Monday warned in strong terms that it would no longer tolerate a situation whereby individuals and private organisations use remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in any part of the country to roam about its airspace uncontrolled and unregulated.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made this known in Abuja while declaring open the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) stakeholders’ workshop and symposium for African and Indian Ocean
Sirika disclosed that the intent and purpose of the symposium was to ensure that the country interacts adequately and shares ideas on how to keep the airspace safe efficiently.
He noted that since the industry has drawn the attention of the aviation world to Nigeria, the country stands to benefit from any system, ideas, advice or any guidelines that would change the future aviation positively.
According to him, “I just want to draw the attention of Nigerians and plead with them that our system, norms, values, traditions and culture are very different from that of the rest of the world where there are no gun controls. But it is not the case in Nigeria because we are different people with different set of values and understanding of issues.
“So, we cannot afford to allow drones to continue to roam about our airspace uncontrolled and unregulated. There will for sure be regulations, but, we will not kill the enthusiasm of hobbyist and other users of drones. We will only regulate and make sure that all of us remain safe and secure.”
Speaking further, he said: “Imagine the use of drones to drop anthrax in an envelope somewhere because, they now use GPS and cameras. It will be disastrous for our nation. It can carry weight in kilogrammes of bomb and drop it with the use of GPS on innocent people. That cannot be allowed in our country.”
Speaking with journalists at the sideline of the event, Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, said: “Well, you know we have a system and the airport is a system that has safety and security system.
“We are keen stakeholders since we run the airport. You know every flying object is about the airport. So virtually, they have to be integrated into our safety system so that the airspace and the airport will be safe for everybody.”
According to Dunoma, “FAAN is looking at the entire thing. We are waiting for the regulation and as soon as the regulation is out, FAAN will make sure that they comply with our safety system in the airport.”