Osun State, a southwestern state in Nigeria has announced its plans to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones to tackle ethnic violence in the state. The Commissioner for Innovation, Science,and Technology in Osun State, Engr. OluremiOmowaiye revealed this at the recently concluded ICTEL expo 2018 held in Lagos.
Oluremi explained during the expo that the drones which will be launched in the coming weeks will be used to track, identify and monitor the movement of livestock in and around the state. To make this possible, Osun state has commissioned a call center along with its associating helpline andshortcode obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which residents can use to notify the authorities of any anti-social activities.
Drones to be interfaced with a call center base
According to the ICT commissioner, he explained that the soon to be acquired drones will be interfaced with the call center base with the intention of identifying all live-stock transiting through the state. He also added that the drone monitoring solution will be connected to other essential civic amenities like the state ambulance and fire services, together with the Nigerian Army, Police and other sister agencies.
The issue of ethnic violence has been troubling Nigeria for quite some time now, in recent time, the security situation in Nigeriaseems to have taken a turn for the worse. For almost a decade now, the Boko Haram insurgency has continued to prolong, claiming close to 50,000 lives and displacing millions. With the apparent inability of Nigeria’s security forces to adequately curtail the menace, residents in the country especially those in the north are now skeptical about the feasibility of peace any time soon.
The Fulani herdsmen or militia (depending on the individual point of view) has once been named the world’s deadliest armed group according to Independent.co.uk, the group has since slaughtered thousands of women and children, choosing to perpetrate their heinous crimes at night.Like the Boko Haram crises, it appears that the Nigerian government is unable to provide a lasting solution to the herdsmen issues, leaving citizens to their fate.
To remedy some of the shortcomings of the Nigerian Military particularly in the area of Intelligence gathering, surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), the country is increasingly turning to indigenous unmanned solutions to fulfill its security needs, the Nigerian Air Force has steadily stepped up its use of the Chinese-made CH-3 Rainbow Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) and its associating weaponry such as the Norinco AR-1 Precision Guided Missile (PGM).
Nigerian Military Self-Modernization Drive
Furthermore, while the nation is also trying to modernize its armed forces, and at the same time keeping reliance on foreign equipment to a bare minimum, Nigeria has developed some sophisticated aerial platforms and solutions like the Tsaigumi UAV and the in-house Life Extension Programme of its C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft.
Just last month the Nigerian Air Force also unveiled a unique Hexacopter drone which was developed in-house. The Hexacopter drone was outfitted with a drop bomb. Granted, the drop bomb is ungainly and in an awkward position,however, defense/weapons specialist who spoke with African Military Blog believes that it is still just a prototype and in time, a more realistic version will be developed.
The use of drones is a welcome development, it provides a real-time and effective solution to tackling all manner of vices across the nation. Although it is not yet known how Osun state would bypass existing Nigerian laws which has banned the use of drones within the Nigerian Airspace, as previously reported by TechPoint, a license and permission would have to be obtained from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).