Home News Unidentified Aircrafts Flying Over Aso Rock, Restricted Airspaces Raise Security Concerns
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Unidentified Aircrafts Flying Over Aso Rock, Restricted Airspaces Raise Security Concerns

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A memo exclusively obtained by West Africa Weekly shows that aircraft fly over restricted airspaces, specifically over the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Experts believe this threatens national security.

In the memo dated 16th April 2024, the Ag. Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Chris Najomo admitted that some aircraft have been flying over prohibited areas to the ignorance of the Authority. 

He noted that the NCAA became aware of such activity after it was informed by the office of the National Security Adviser of “an unknown aircraft flying over the presidential Villa (DNP4).”

The memo, directed to all aircraft operators operating in the Nigerian airspace, warned against further flight operations in restricted and prohibited spaces.

The memo read: “The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority in receipt of a letter from the office of the National Security Adviser reporting a sighting of an unknown aircraft flying over the presidential Villa (DNP4).

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority wishes to refer to Part 8.8.1.21 of Nig.CARs 2023 states that “No person may operate an aircraft in a prohibited area or a restricted area, the particulars of which have been duly published, except by the conditions of the restriction or by permission of the state over whose territory the areas are established.”

Any such violation shall be liable to sanction, prosecution or both by the Authority. In addition, the intruding aircraft may face dire consequences.”

It Poses Threat To National Security – Expert

Dr. Samuel Oyewole, an academic and researcher in the areas of aerospace, warfare, and maritime security, in an interview with West Africa Weekly, noted that aircraft flying over the presidential villa and other prohibited areas without authorisation calls for concern.

It is a major breach of national security to have civil aviation aircraft flying over restricted airspace, specifically the Presidential villa… Because such can be hijacked and crash into Aso Rock.

Oyewole, a visiting Scholar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, added that such porosity exposes the limitations of Nigeria and other African countries in air security. He explained that such cannot be tolerated in developed countries.

If you try something like this in the US and some other countries, immediately, you will see a response from the national guard, who will respond with aircraft or warning of missiles to counteract possible invasion, he said.

Meanwhile, West Africa Weekly gathered from reliable sources that unidentified aircraft, especially private jets, are often used to smuggle resources and criminals.

Recall that in 2021, the former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, at an investigative hearing, accused private jet owners of aiding and abetting gold smuggling in the country.

Ogah disclosed that the political elite perpetrates large-scale smuggling in the mining sector, costing the country an annual loss of over $9 billion.

At the hearing, organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development, and Metallurgy, a member of the Committee, Senator Francis Fadaunsi, buttressed the former minister’s claim.

He said,

Gold smuggling and illegal mining are carried out by political elites and not just the poor masses at the illegal mining sites. Categories of Nigerians at the top, from political office holders, politicians, traditional rulers, top security officers, and so on, are involved in gold smuggling and illegal mining in one way or another. The poor ones did it on behalf of the big ones.

Regarding the possible use of airspace in smuggling, Dr Oyewole argued that “politicians, people in the security sector, and many people in government are involved.”

I will not be surprised by any report or indication that some of these aircraft are lifting illegally mined resources like gold out of the country. Nigeria is losing billions of dollars to illegal gold mining alone in Zamfara State. So, how does this heavy amount of gold leave the country unnoticed? So many ways are involved, he added.

Oyewole advised that governors should actively protect the country’s natural resources. He explained that this would be easier with the decentralisation of mining control and its inclusion in the concurrent legislative list.

I think that (inclusion in the concurrent list) is the major option to explore. But despite being in the exclusive list, there is nothing stopping governors from collaborating with the federal government in exploration.”

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