The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a law firm, Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL), on the regulation and licensing of space activities. It followed the enactment of Regulation on Licensing and Supervision of Space Activities. The regulation empowers NASRDA to license all space activities in Nigeria.
At a Lagos briefing, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) noted that a critical missing piece of legislation is the licensing framework for space activities. He said: “NASRDA and OAL have worked together to fill this gap by enacting the Regulation on Licensing and Supervision of Space Activities, 2015 (Vol.108, No.106, of 28th September 2021, Government Notice No.158, Page3 B4209-4235).
Furthermore, the Senior Advocate believes the Regulation “is a great leap forward in Nigeria’s quest to develop and harness the many potentials of space”. This, he said, is because hitherto unregistered space activities will now be registered. Noting that while no one knows how many space objects are within Nigeria’s jurisdiction, Dr Agbakoba believes revenues from licence fees will run into billions of naira. “Given the government’s very scarce resources, additional income from licensing revenue will add substantially,” he said.
Head of Public Sector Practice Group at OAL, Collins Okeke, said the firm was working with the National Assembly to review the NARSDA Act to incorporate aspects of the UK Space Industry Act 2018 to bring it in conformity with international best practices. Head of Space Law Practice Group, Anne Agi, said OAL was the only law firm in Nigeria with a practice group exclusively for space law.
“OAL has a long history of working with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), the National Assembly, policymakers, and, in particular, the NASRDA to help strengthen the legal, institutional, and regulatory framework that governs Space in Nigeria.
“This includes reviewing and analysing the current space policy and creating a new policy that covers more aspects of space activities, (e.g. military policy, public policy, commercial policy); harmonising national laws with principles in international law and ensuring domestic legislation covers all areas/aspects of space activities,” Agi said.