The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it would soon pull down over 7,000 telecommunication masts and towers belonging to Global System for Mobile Communications [GSM] providers
The NCAA had equally given a 30-day ultimatum to affected operators to comply with its directive of getting the relevant ‘clearance’.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye, on Tuesday, the authority said it was compelled to take that line of action since the telecommunication providers have ”blatantly failed to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC).”
Mr Adurogboye said, “Without Aviation Height Clearance, all these masts and towers constitute a danger to the safety of air navigation”.
He quoted the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, Section 30(3)(1) as backing for the action.
He said the NCAA is empowered to prohibit and regulate the installation of any the structure ”which by virtue of its height or position is considered to endanger the safety of air navigation”.
He also said the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 22.214.171.124.3.1 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.”
He said upon the provision, the regulatory authority requires an AHC approval for every tower installation irrespective of the height and location.
He said the promoters of Globacom Ltd and the other defaulters had failed to obtain the mandatory AHC from the agency, which is considered as a violation of Safety Regulations.
He said the authority ”had sent letters and entreaties to Globacom Limited and these other GSM providers but were not responded to despite that they were duly received by the relevant executives and duly acknowledged”.
He also said Letters of Investigation (LOI) were written and delivered to them (outfits) with no response recorded to date.
He recalled the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) members were ‘candidly’ advised by the agency’s DG to ensure they obtain the clearance, early this year.
He said the representatives of Globacom who were present at the said meeting demanded to be furnished with the location of the masts, after which a booklet containing the coordinates and location of the masts ”has since been made available to the organisation”.
”After 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.
“The NCAA will continue to provide a level playing field for aviation and related services to thrive in Nigeria. Much more importantly, the safety and security of airline operations is critical and will not be compromised,” he added.