NCAA Threatens to Topple Over 7,000 Telecoms Masts After 30-day Ultimatum

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Mobile telecommunication services may be shut down nationwide in the next 30 days if the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and telecommunication service providers fail to resolve their disagreement.

The NCAA, yesterday, issued a 30-day ultimatum to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) providers to comply with the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) or risk the pull down of their over 7,000 telecommunication masts and towers due to safety violation.

This follows the refusal of telecommunication providers to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC].

According to NCAA, without AHC, all the masts and towers constitute danger to safety of air navigation.

Under the Civil Aviation Act 2006, Section 30 (3) (1), NCAA is empowered to prohibit and regulate the installation of any structure which by virtue of its height or position is considered to endanger the safety of air navigation.

Furthermore, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 12.1.7.1.3.1 stipulates that, “No person or organisation shall put up a structure (permanent or temporary) within the navigable airspace of Nigeria unless such a person or organisation is a holder of Aviation Height Clearance Certificate granted under this regulation.”

Consequent upon this provision, the regulatory authority requires an Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) approval for every tower installation irrespective of the height and location.

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NCAA, however, said telecom service providers had failed to comply with the regulations.

Several letters and entreaties sent to the GSM providers from the authority were not responded to despite that they were duly received by the relevant executives and duly acknowledged.

In addition, Letters of Investigation (LOI) was written and delivered to them with no response recorded till date.

It would be recalled that the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, had met with members of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) where he advised them to ensure they obtained Aviation Height Clearance.

This was to reiterate the need for all masts and towers erected in Nigeria to adhere to safety regulation and ensure safety of air navigation.

Spokesman of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said while some operators had shown some level of compliance, Globacom and some others had refused to comply.

Adurogboye explained that as a result of the meeting, other telecommunication providers had implicitly demonstrated considerable compliance by duly obtaining the requisite height clearance from the authority except for a few defaulters.

He said there were over 40,000 masts and towers in Nigeria.