Contributor: Aluko & Oyebode

Author: Ayodeji Oyetunde, Gregory Yinka-Gregg, Ebube Akpamgbo

1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in Nigeria? Does Nigeria use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?

There is legislation in Nigeria that provides for the use of electronic signatures and for the execution of documents, such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation, and IDERAs. However, the relevant legislation does not specifically provide for the use of digital platforms; as a result of this, it is unclear whether the use of digital platforms is permissible in Nigeria.

2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?

Generally, the Evidence Act provides that an electronic signature satisfies the rule of law if it complies with a procedure in existence by which it is necessary for a person to proceed with a given transaction and complies with a security procedure, if any, for the purpose of verifying that the electronic signature was executed by such a person.

However, there is no specific requirement of completion with a cryptographic platform developed by any local institute of technology under Nigerian law. The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulation provides that an electronic signature, or any other form of signature, should satisfy the requirement of being a unique identification used as a means of authenticating a record entry or record by an individual.

In addition, Section 84 () of the Evidence Act provides that for a statement in a computer-generated document to be admissible in court, the following conditions are required to be satisfied:

(a)  that the document containing the statement was produced by the computer during a period over which the computer was used regularly to store or process information for the purposes of any activities regularly carried on over that period, whether for profit or not by anybody, whether corporate or not, or by any individual; (b)  that over that period, there was regularly supplied to the computer in the ordinary course of those activities information of the kind contained in the statement or of the kind from which the information so contained is derived; (c)  that throughout the material part of that period, the computer was operating properly or, if not, that in any respect in which it was not operating properly or was out of operation during that part of that period was not such as to affect the production of the document or the accuracy of its contents; and (d)  that the information contained in the statement reproduces or is derived from information supplied to the computer in the ordinary course of those activities.

3. What are the requirements and documentation to register an aircraft in Nigeria? Include references to formalities such as notarisation, legalization, etc.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (the “Aviation Authority”) maintains a register for aircraft documents. The Civil Aviation Act mandates the Aviation Authority to establish and maintain a national registry for the registration of civil aircraft and any interest or title thereof in Nigeria.

On the other hand, the Aviation Authority does not maintain an electronic register. It, however, keeps a computerized database through which it reflects relevant information in respect of aircraft.

4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in Nigeria?

As indicated above, the Aviation Authority maintains a national registry which is in physical form. Copies of physical documents indicating any interest in an aircraft are registered by the Aviation Authority in the national registry. Details of such interest are further included directly by the Aviation Authority in a computerized database.

5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in Nigeria?

As indicated in our response to Question 1 above, the courts will consider valid and enforceable documents executed by the use of an electronic signature. However, the relevant legislation does not specifically provide for the use of digital platforms. It is, therefore, uncertain whether the courts would enforce documents executed through such means.

6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of Nigeria?

The relevant legislation in Nigeria does not permit for lawsuits, pleadings and procedural documents to be electronically uploaded to the national register.

7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in Nigeria? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of Nigeria (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.

The courts will consider valid and enforceable documents which have been executed through the use of an electronic signature. In determining the admissibility of any procedural document executed electronically, the conditions in Section 84 (2) of the Evidence Act are required to be satisfied.

Nigeria does not specifically make a distinction between official electronic signatures and private electronic signatures.

8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?

Pursuant to the Evidence Act, the consent of a party to an electronic signature is not required to be expressly referred to in an agreement to make such an agreement valid. It suffices that the relevant party has appended its electronic signature to the document with the intention to be bound, and there were no elements of duress, deceit, or illegality, at the time of the execution.

However, the consent of an illiterate and blind person is required to be expressly stated in any agreement as having been obtained at the time of its execution. By virtue of section 119 of the Evidence Act, a jurat is required, stating in the document that the contents of the document have been read over to such a person and translated into a language that he/she understands, and such person appeared to have understood the same.

9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of Nigeria made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?

Foreign entities not located in Nigeria can execute lease agreements and finance documents with electronic signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority. Where such a document is sought to be admissible, the conditions stated in Section 84 (2) of the Evidence Act are required to be satisfied.

10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in Nigeria (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?

No, the Aviation Authority in Nigeria does not use digital tools, including blockchain technology, in respect of Aircraft Documents.

11. Does the civil aviation authority in Nigeria authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has Nigeria entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?

There is no additional requirement for a document executed through the use of an electronic signature to be notarized or apostilled.

Share this article