NCAA receives 300 applications for drone certifications

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it received over 300 applications from operators for NCAA certification of different types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) also known as drones across Nigeria.

This is as the federal government described the setting up of a dedicated Unmanned Aircraft Systems unit by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as visionary and one that will aid and accelerate the country’s quest to control and coordinate the increasing numbers of the use of the technology in Nigeria.

Festus Keyamo, the minister of aviation and Aerospace Development, said the ministry will ensure the success and growth of the unit by making provisions for training and manpower development in the unit so that they can effectively oversee the use and operations of UAV otherwise known as drone technology across the country.

The Minister, who was represented by Emmanuel Meribole, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, spoke when he toured the NCAA drone portal and declared open the UAS Integration Unit at the NCAA’s headquarters Annex in Lagos as part of his activities at the 4th Drone Texc Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos.

Meribole called for collaborations with key stakeholders and leveraging the use of technology in order to achieve the vision of the unit affirming that the ministry will give it support and commended the vision of the Director General, Civil Aviation, Captain Chris Najomo.

Responding to requests by staff of the unit, the Permanent Secretary said “I have heard all your requests and challenges. One of the takeaways from here which I will gladly impress on the minister is that you need training. Of course, you need to bring it up for us to see how we can find resources to help you meet that.

“Secondly, we need to leverage technology. Leveraging technology has many parts, simple application processes, simple approval, and simple collaboration processes. For you to prevent non-state actors you need to identify who among them is not registered with you. So the local law enforcement will also have to come in.”

He said, “I don’t know how many staff you have, but you can’t go round the country, it is either you enter into collaborations by certifying the people that you have to do the work so that you have a value chain addition as you go round and of course the most important thing in all these is that you have a visionary leader at NCAA who is driving all these things.”

“No matter the kind of support the minister gives, you need visionary leadership to ensure that we succeed. We also expect you to lead the way and we also expect you to think out of the box. We have critical thinkers as we move on. I am going to pass your message to the honorable minister and I can assure you that we are going to give you all the support.”

Also speaking, Bukola Teriba, the Regional Manager, Lagos of the NCAA, explained that the part 21 regulation document developed for the operations of drones is not only good for the NCAA but also for Nigeria.

She described the vehicles as mystic in the sky and affirmed that their regulations are important for the aviation industry.

Bukola commended the Perm Sec and the DG Civil Aviation, Captain Chris Najomo for the historic feat saying,

“Congratulations to you for being part of this. History will record that this feat was achieved during your time. For us here we will not forget to thank the DG CA whose bold initiatives it was to take up that singular task of identifying and has set up a dedicated drone desk in the agency.”

She added, “His predecessors have been pulling inspectors from different units or directorates, most times these inspectors were also saddled with other responsibilities from the demanding aviation systems and dedicating little or no time to the UAS integration project. For the DG himself, he took the bull by the horns and answered the clarion calls from operators especially looking at the overwhelming applications that we have received over time.”

“He must be strongly commended for setting up a dedicated desk to anchor all the UAS industry applications and requests. Another is the strong will to make work very well and function. The DG is still very supportive of the unit.”

Source: Business Day

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