Personnel of the Nigerian Army Department of Military Intelligence at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, have arrested a man for being in possession of two highly weaponised drones.
The incident happened on January 28, 2020 at about 5:00pm while DMI officers at the cargo section discovered a suspicious package concealed in cartons.
Upon opening the cartons, the officers discovered parts of two highly weaponised drones and the supervisor told the man that brought it into the country to go and report the following day.
Investigation revealed that the following day the man was asked to write a statement after which he was detained.
Upon interrogation at the National Air Defense Corps, Ikeja, the suspect claimed to be working for the Kaduna State Government.
Further investigation revealed that, Commander of NADC, Air commodore U.K Abdullah, later received a call from some unknown persons, who ordered him to release the man and drones.
Abdullah, it was gathered, later released the suspect and drones on January 30, 2020.
The commander, who only assumed duties in December 2019 at the NADC, was said to have instructed his officers to drop further investigation on the matter.
When contacted by SaharaReporters, Kelechi, who did not deny his involvement in the incident, refused to comment on the issue, only saying that at the appropriate time the relevant body was going to shed more light into the matter.
When asked to mention, who this relevant body was, Kelechi said, “It is confidential. At the appropriate time the appropriate body will speak on this. That is all I have to say.”
Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, when contacted by SaharaReporters, denied the involvement of the state government in the seized items.
Recall that in May 2016, the Nigerian Government placed a ban on launching Remotely Piloted Aircraft or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) in its airspace without a permit from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as well as the Office of the National Security Adviser.
According to the rule, drones weighing more than 250 grams (.55 pounds) must be registered with the NCAA.
Defending its decision, government stated that the deployment of drones “without adequate security clearance” had led to “predictable safety concerns and security threats.”
The NCAA in a statement at the time, said, “Therefore, no government agency, organisation or an individual will launch an RPA/UAV in the Nigerian airspace for any purpose whatsoever without obtaining requisite permit from the NCAA and ONSA.
“The NCAA wishes to reiterate that all applicants and holders of permits to operate RPA/Drones must strictly be guided by safety guidelines.
“In addition, operators must ensure strict compliance with the conditions stipulated in their permits and the requirements of the Nig. CARs.”
Findings by SaharaReporters revealed that Kaduna is among states that have made moves to deploy drones to tackle bandits, kidnappers, and killer herdsmen within its territory in recent times.