Drone use must be regulated across the country, according to the federal government.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, revealed this at the weekly State House briefing in Aso Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
According to him, the Federal Government would develop a “simple policy” to govern the use of drones for both personal and commercial purposes.
Drones, according to the Minister, might cause “disaster” in the civil aviation area if they are not regulated.
Drones are unmanned aerial aircraft that are piloted from the ground by aviators or their owners.
What the Minister has to say about drone regulation “There are now remotely piloted aircraft and unmanned entities or aircraft, or drones as you may call them,” he stated.
“Everybody is flying drones now. They are for good use. You fly drones now to find pipeline vandalisation or breakage or carry out integrity tests, you fly drones now to many places to order pizza, to send birthday gifts and so on and so forth.
“Very soon, we will find our airspace dotted with all these crafts and managing them alone will become such a huge challenge because they will be operating around the airspace and somebody needs to control them.
“The last time I spoke on drones, I gave an example of a friend of mine who was flying about 3 miles away from the (Aso) Villa.
He was flying it at about 500ft above ground level and he was flying it towards the airport which is at the west side of the city and he was flying it about 65km per hour.
These drones are now beginning to carry loads like 5kg, 10kg, or more.
If this gentleman (friend of mine) is just flying this drone around and there is an inbound airplane or an airplane that is taking off, it could hit the airplane, get ingested in the engine and cause disaster.
And don’t think it is not going to happen.
Insha Allah (by God’s grace), it is not going to happen in Nigeria and in anywhere but we have seen examples of it in the UK (United Kingdom), we’ve seen British airways, we’ve seen also in the US (United States).
“So, we thought we should develop a policy for remotely piloted aircraft to have them organised and regulated.”
“We are policy-makers and we will make policies that will keep our country safe and secure.
“The policy is going to be very simple: just like you walk in and buy the drones and also be able to follow those rules and regulations even if you are an enthusiast.”