Oando Plc has become the first organisation in Nigerian to be issued the Remotely Piloted Aircraft/Drones (RPAS) Operators Certificate (ROC).
The certificate was issued to the oil company in Lagos, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at its headquarters at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos yesterday.
A statement by Mr. Sam Adurogboye, spokesman for NCAA, said that the certificate was issued to the company by Capt. Muhtar Usman, the Director-General of the agency.
He hinted that the certificate was collected on behalf of the company by Mr. Anthony Sawyer, Oando Plc’s General Manager, Operations.
Adurogboye said that Oando Reservoir and Production Services Ltd. received the certificate having satisfied the requirements and found competent to secure the safe operation of the Lockheed Martins SN 248-255 aircraft.
The certificate, according to him, was for flights with the purpose of environmental observation monitoring and protection.
Oando Plc team, led by Sawyer, received the certificate on behalf of the oil company.
Speaking during the presentation, Usman advised Oando to ensure strict compliance with all the requirements for the grant of an approval.
He urged the company to adhere to all requirements for the maintenance of an approval applicable to each of the operations specifications.
He also enjoined the recipient to expect some initial minor challenges, which he said, were not entirely unexpected in any new initiative.
He, however, promised that the regulatory agency would respond to these challenges.
He added: “Taking cognisance of the rapid pace of technological development, the DG said the RPAS regulatory framework is a work in progress and we shall continually engage the industry stakeholders to review the regulations when necessary.”
Sawyer described the NCAA team as very professional and thorough during the processes towards attaining the certification, saying that the procedures were rigorous.
“We were convinced the authority was doing the right thing in line with its oversight responsibilities. Oando will definitely abide by all the conditions attached to the certificate especially with our pioneer status.”
To qualify for the issuance of certificate, applicants the statement said were expected to undergo five phases, which he itemised as pre-application, formal application, document evaluation, demonstration and inspection and certification phases.
The certificate would be valid till June 15, 2019, to be carried on site during each authorised and approved operations.