Nigeria to host civil aviation meeting on drones

Ijeoma Nwankpa, Abuja

The socio-economic importance and regulation of the use of drones will take center stage as Nigeria gets set to host the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Abuja from July 17 to July 18.

The symposium, which starts on Monday, which has as its theme “Remotely Piloted Aviation in Africa: sharing experiences and challenges” would provide a unique opportunity for States, International Organizations and Stakeholders to share experiences in addressing drone operations across Africa and the Indian Ocean.

The symposium is expected to identify how existing rules can evolve to facilitate the entrance of RPAS community into the civil aviation system.

Nigeria’ s Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said that the symposium would showcase the opportunities that are inherent in the integration of drones into the global civil aviation system and examine possible alignments between ongoing drone development and support regulatory provisions.

“It will increase awareness of states, regulators and airspace users of the importance of adapting the existing regulatory framework to the needs of RPAS a fast-growing new member of the aviation community and also on the capabilities of RPAS technologies and the impact of those new capabilities on civil aviation activities showcased through panel discussions and exhibitions”.

“This confidence, he said resulted to the re-election of Dr Olumuyiwa Aliyu as the ICAO Council President in October 2016 and also the recent election of Nigeria’s representative on the Council, Captain Musa Nuhu as the 2nd Vice President,”Sirika added.

Nigeria, he said, would continue to play a leading role in the international civil aviation community, as it strives to establish itself as a regional hub for air transportation.

ICAO is a UN agency established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.