Nigeria to Enforce Strict Regulations on Drone Technology

The Acting Director, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Chris Ona Najomo, unveiled a comprehensive framework for regulating Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) in Nigeria.

Speaking at the 4th Drone Technology Conference and Exhibition, 2024, held at the NIGAV Centre, Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Captain Najomo emphasized the rapid evolution of UAS technology, which has expanded from military and academic uses to commercial and consumer applications. 

In his presentation on the theme: “Holistic Regulations for UAS Development in Nigeria”, he stated that, this growth, necessitates a robust regulatory framework to ensure safe and secure operations.

Highlighting the importance of safety oversight, Captain Najomo represented by the Director, Aerodromes and Airspace Standards, DAAS, Mr. Godwin Balang, referred to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) definition and outlined eight critical elements essential for an effective safety oversight system. 

These elements include comprehensive aviation legislation, standardized operating regulations, a well-resourced Civil Aviation Authority and qualified technical personnel.

Others are, technical guidance, and stringent processes for licensing, certification, surveillance, and resolving safety concerns.

Formed in 1999, the NCAA is responsible for overseeing aviation safety, enforcing airport standards, and regulating aircraft operations in Nigeria. 

The ADGCA explained that, under the Civil Aviation Act 2022, the NCAA’s regulations for drone operations are detailed in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023, particularly Part 21, which focuses on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

According to him, key regulations mandate authorizations for drone operations, the registration of drones over 250 grams, and specific licensing requirements. 

He noted that, operators must submit flight plans, avoid reckless flying, and refrain from cross-border flights without permission.

Captain Najomo reaffirmed the NCAA’s commitment to supporting the growth of the UAS sector while ensuring safety and compliance. 

He emphasized that this regulatory framework aims to sustainably integrate UAS technology into Nigeria’s economy.

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