The Oasis Reporters
July 29, 2019
A report published by Punch newspaper says that efforts by “some state governments to obtain necessary safety and security clearances to launch Remotely Piloted Aircraft (drones) to tackle insecurity in their domains appear to be failing, no thanks to the strict conditions stipulated by Federal Government agencies responsible for granting the approvals”.
Going by the report, it is apparent that states are deeply worried about the incessant kidnappings ongoing with the attendant extortions of huge ransoms, humiliating rapes of innocent people, dehumanizing conditions captives are kept in the thick forests and the summary execution of those who fail to cough out the ransoms demanded by the heartless bandits.
This is happening amidst serious security challenges in various states across the country, as reported by the national daily.
“No state government, agency, organisation or individual is allowed to launch an RPA (drone) for any reason without obtaining approval from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the agency regulating safety and security in the country’s airspace, and the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Reports indicate that some states have been in the process of getting safety and security clearances from the NCAA and the ONSA for almost two years now.
Currently, some of the states that have made moves to deploy drones to tackle bandits, kidnappers, and killer herdsmen are Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Kaduna and Anambra.
“Among other things, the drones are meant to monitor and record the activities and hideouts of criminals, including bandits, kidnappers and killer herdsmen.
Officials of the NCAA and the ONSA, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to comment on security matters, said Lagos State had been on the process for about two years.
Osun State, which began the process under ex-Governor Rauf Aregbesola, has yet to get the necessary clearance to launch the drones, according to the officials.
According to the officials, Kaduna State also moved to get the necessary clearance to deploy drones following killings in the state about four years ago but has yet to obtain the final approvals from the NCAA and the ONSA. However, there are indications that the state has obtained End User Certificate from the ONSA.
It was also learnt that the Anambra State government suspended its move to get such a clearance after changing its strategy on security.
“The ONSA is very careful. They don’t want to just give approvals to state governments that will later abuse the privilege. Again, the ONSA office is reluctant because security agencies are under the Federal Government and as such, giving approvals to state governments to deploy drones is something that has to be done with the necessary checks”.
“Also, there is the need to carry out proper safety and security profiling on the security firms that will help the state governments to deploy the drones. So, it is a very detailed and important issue,” a top official privy to details of the state governments’ applications said.
Further findings revealed that many of the state governments had yet to train drone pilots who would fly the RPAs in line with the NCAA safety requirements, while security firms which would partner some of the states to train drone pilots had yet to get approval from the NCAA.
“It is a long process. Before the states can be given RPA operating licence by the NCAA to launch drones, they need to come with End User Certificate from the NSA Office to the NCAA Office. We have since asked them to go and get that. Some of them have been in the process for about two years. Safety and security issues are involved in drone deployment and these must be cleared,” a top official at the Ministry of Aviation, who is privy to the development, had said”.
Well, the good news is that technology is evolving everyday. Drones themselves that can can get visual and audio reports from remote and impossible spots came into popularity in the last few years.
And as long as State governors have huge and discretionary security votes, this can be deployed using satellite technologies from abroad to view and get precise locations of bandits hideouts in Nigerian forests that will give GPS locations of where they are. With enough technical guidance and the deployment of local vigilantes to pounce on the bandits, and free the hostages, their business would be made dangerous to them and many of the bandits would find their ways back to their respective countries while freeing Nigerians from their hideous grip.
Nigeria would not have the capacity to regulate what satellite images can be captured Europe, Israel, the Americas etc, which they can obtain or deploy from the sky. The situation has reached that desperate level that requires our state governments to move further and secure us, despite the obvious security implications of contracting the tracking of bandits in the hands of outside forces, as there seems to be lethargy from the government.
Another good news is that there are Nigerians deploying satellite technology research in foreign countries. These people can help us and save the homeland from local and foreign invaders, hellbent on destroying the union.
Take Dr. Osemwengie Osatohanmwen for instance.
Dr. Osato Osemwengie, is a U.S-based Nigerian drone expert. He is also a successful academic who has Seven Masters degree and three PhD degrees. Dr. Osemwengie has been an integral member of the American armed forces, building drones for the United States Army. These drones are used for surveillance to gather important information, as well as take out terrorist camps. Dr. Osemwengie is the founder of the Open Robotics University; a tuition free engineering degree-granting university that allows people to further exercise their talents and expand their knowledge into all fields related to engineering. He is also the Founder & CEO of Ubiquity Interface Inc.
He has published books like:
– “Osemwengie .O.: Theory and Practice in Developing Advanced Small Multi Rotor Aircraft. Marques Aviation Ltd. Southport, United Kingdom. ISBN: 978-1-907980-13-8, 2016;
– “Osemwengie .O.: Drone Construction: Step by Step Guide to Designing, Building and Flying Your Own Drone. Marques Aviation Ltd. Southport, United Kingdom. ISBN: 978-1-907980-16-9, 2017;
An expert such as this can help beleaguered States suffering under the jackboots of terrorists kidnappers to save his own people in the homeland.