Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL) congratulates the Nigerian Government on signing the Artemis Accord. The Artemis Accord is very important to space development as it sets guidelines for countries engaged in space exploration and avoids potential conflict or misunderstanding in future space endeavors. Signatories commit to principles to guide their civil space activities, including the public release of scientific data, responsible debris mitigation, registration of space objects, and the establishment and implementation of interoperability standards. Governments that sign the Accord may formally participate in the Artemis Program which is designed to return humans to the moon and mars. This is an amazing opportunity as it brings Nigeria closer to having a Nigerian astronaut on the moon. It also lowers the barrier to Nigeria’s entry into other commercial aspects of space exploration. OAL is excited by this development and looks forward to working with Nigeria’s premier space agency, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), to operationalize provisions of the Artemis Accord in Nigeria.
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 National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to help strengthen the legal, institutional, and regulatory framework that governs space in Nigeria. This includes reviewing and analyzing the current space policy and creating a new policy that covers more aspects of space activities, (e.g. military policy, public policy, commercial policy); harmonizing national laws with principles in international law, and ensuring all areas/aspects of space activities are covered by domestic legislation.
OAL advised, spearheaded, and initiated reform for the transformation of NIGCOMSAT (Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited) from a government limited liability enterprise to a Statutory Corporation. We also proposed legislation to give effect to international conventions on space law ratified by Nigeria. We have also proposed legislative and institutional reform for the space sector in Nigeria to bring it in conformity with international best practices. OAL and NASRDA have collaborated to identify critical legislation and regulation to support Nigeria’s space administration. One of the most critical missing pieces of legislation is the licensing framework for Space activities. OAL and NASRDA have worked together to fill this gap by the enactment of Regulations on Licensing and Supervision of Space Activities, 2015 (Vol.108, No.106, of 28th September 2021, Government Notice No.158, Page3 B4209-4235) which empowers NASRDA to license all space activities in Nigeria. OAL and NARSDA are now working to operationalize the Regulation. This entails the creation of an Independent Directorate of Regulation and Licensing and Supervision of Space Activities, which shall be under the Supervision of NARSDA to aggressively drive and implement the Regulation.