National Security: Experts, Operators list benefits, express fear on full deployment

Unmanned Aerial vehicle popularly called Drone is referred to by experts as a disruptive technology globally because of its huge capacity to alter activities in the different sectors especially the aviation industry.

According to the Drone Industry Insights Report 2020,the worldwide drone industry is predicted to increase at a 13.8 percent CAGR to $42.8 billion by 2025 and this no doubt will lead to job and wealth creation.

There are fears that, despite the technology’s huge potential, it can be dangerous if it ends up in the wrong hands as expressed by participants at the just concluded 2nd Drone Technology Conference and Exhibition in Lagos.

Cross section of drone experts, operators at the Drone Technology conference and exhibition in Lagos

Drone is referred to an unpiloted aircraft. It can be large as an aircraft or small as the palm of the hand and can be used to carry out different tasks ranging from search and rescue, military operations, package delivery, traffic and weather monitoring, among others.

During the global Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, drones were used to deliver medicines, foods and other essentials to many homes.

Today, drone experts and operators say the use of drone in the country is limited due to the rigorous processes and procedures of bringing in drones.

They called for the release of drone regulations, to ease the process of registration and licensing of drone pilots at the just concluded Drone Technology Conference and Exhibition in Lagos.

According to them, when the process is seamless and affordable, it would encourage more Nigerians especially the youths to embrace this cutting edge technology which offers a number of job opportunities, from building to servicing of drones, creation of alsoApps and training for potential drone operators.

“There is still no proper regulations in place that will set the framework for drone use. We must find a way to simply our process”.

Mrs. Charlotte Essiet also harped on the development of drone infrastructure.
” We need to be able to develop a UAV infrastructure to make the future of the drone application more sustainable, operational and scale able”.

Spokesman for the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye says the authority has commenced the process of registration.

“We have gone far on this issue of drone”.

Because of the drone industry’s capacity to generate huge revenue and create jobs if properly harnessed, the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria have trained three lecturers abroad to kick start drone training in Nigeria as explained by Dr. Yakubu Ibrahim a lecturer in the college.

“We have developed drone manuals, NCAT has trained 4 inspectors and we are waiting for NCAA to give us the approval”.

The full deployment of the technology in the country may perhaps be constrained by the fear of security breach.

However good the drone use may be, security agencies are worried that if not properly regulated, it can be used to sabotage the security architecture of the country.

Group Captain charten Ose of Defense Space Administration of the Nigerian AirForce lists the challenges of drone use to National Security.

“In the North-East today, the Bolo Haram terriorist are applying drones to first of all get information about any location they want to strike, that is how much the threats have gone”.

Drone experts and users are of the opinion that these fears can be managed by a well articulated covert programme by the relevant security authority without frustrating the growth of civil drone application.

There is no doubt that the spike in the drone industry growth that has occurred in the last few years has made it a multi-billion industry and making use of all the prospects available will definitely put Nigeria on the map of drone users on the continent.

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