A local government in Nigeria said Monday it may deploy drones across Lagos as part of efforts to fight crime in the southwest state. Lagos state commissioner of science and technology, Olumfemi Odubiyi, said the pilotless aircraft would supplement the 1,000 closed-circuit television surveillance cameras mounted across the commercial hub.
“The use of unmanned drones to effectively receive updates and monitor developments in a megacity of our size may also not be out of place,” Odubiyi told journalists in Lagos Monday, according to Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper, adding that the drones would also collect data and monitor the allocation and development of resources.
This is not the first time Nigeria has considered using drone technology. The country’s state-run oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said in September drones will be deployed as part of efforts to combat oil theft by monitoring the movement of ships in key coastal areas.
“We are launching an armada of approaches which will include incorporation of drones to check movements of vessels within our territorial waters,” the firm’s new boss, Ibe Kachikwu, said in a statement on Sept. 4, according to Quartz. “We are looking at the current logistical nightmares of changing staffing at the loading bay of crude oil export terminals virtually every 90 days.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has said the country has lost “mind-boggling” sums of money due to oil theft and a crooked industry. Buhari asked U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this year to help trace and recover $150 billion believed to be stolen by corrupt government officials in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer.
Crude theft could soon be a concern in Lagos. London-based oil company Afren Plc and its partner Lekoil announced in June 2013 they had discovered significant oil reserves in the offshore Dahomey Basin in Lagos, according to Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper. Drilling was set to begin sometime this year, which would add to the state’s already booming economy. Lagos makes up about $80.61 billion, or 35.6 percent, of Nigeria’s GDP and it is the highest contributor to non-oil GDP, according to Ventures Africa.