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NCAA to demolish over 7,000 telecommunication masts

Over 7,000 telecommunication masts and towers belonging to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) providers erected nationwide may soon be pulled down by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, disclosed this on Tuesday.

The NCAA has given affected operators a 30-day ultimatum to comply with its directive of getting the relevant clearance.

According to him, the NCAA is compelled to recourse to this line of action because the telecommunication providers blatantly failed to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC).

He said without Aviation Height Clearance, these masts and towers constitute danger to safety of air navigation.

Adurogboye said Under the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, Section 30(3)(1), the 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.

He ssid: “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.”

Contrary to the Regulations, Adurogboye said promoters of GLO telecommunication and other defaulters have failed to obtain the mandatory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is considered as a violation of safety Regulations.

He said several letters and entreaties sent to GSM providers from the Authority were not responded to despite the fact they were duly received by the relevant executives and duly acknowledged.

He said:” In addition, Letters of Investigation (LOI) were written and delivered to them with no response recorded till date.”

Recall that in a meeting with the Director General, early this year, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) members were candidly advised by the DG to ensure they obtain Aviation Height Clearance.

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

He said at the meeting, Globacom representatives were present and were asked questions concerning GLOs refusal to obtain Aviation Height Clearance Certificate.

He said: ”In response the delegates demanded to be furnished with the location of the masts. A booklet containing the coordinates and location of the masts has since been made available to the organisation.

“As a result of the meeting, other telecommunications providers have implicitly demonstrated considerably compliance by duly obtaining the requisite height clearance from the Authority except for these few defaulters.

“It is instructive to note that there are well over 40,000 masts and towers in Nigeria. Statutorily, all telecommunications operators should obtain Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) and ensured their annual validity.

He said a 30-day ultimatum has been given to all defaulters in Nigeria to regularise their operations with NCAA forthwith.

Adurogboye said:” However, if there is similarly no response, NCAA will immediately embark on mass decommissioning and demolition of all their masts and towers in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will continue to provide a level playing field for aviation and related services to thrive in Nigeria.

“Much more importantly, safety and security of airline operations is critical and will not be compromised.”

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