The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, issued a 30-day ultimatum to owners and operators of unlicensed masts and towers around airports nationwide to either comply with the rules or face demolition.
This is as the aviation apex regulator has marked over 7000 masts, largely owned by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) service providers, a development that would cause disruption of communication activities in and around the airport areas where they are located.
NCAA, at a parley in February, had warned telecoms operators and owners of high-rise structure around airports to remit their outstanding debts to the body or face sanctions.
The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, gave the order during a meeting with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, Tuesday, said NCAA is left with limited options when the telecommunication providers fail to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC).
"Without Aviation Height Clearance, all these masts and towers constitute a 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.
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 126.96.36.199.3.1 also states 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.
Adurogboye added that contrary to the regulations, "the 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.
"Several letters and entreaties sent to Globacom Limited and other GSM providers by the Authority were not responded to despite being duly received by the relevant executives and acknowledged. In addition, Letters of Investigation (LOI) were written and delivered to them with no response recorded till date," he said.
The spokesperson recalled that at the February meeting, Globacom representatives were present, and were asked questions concerning GLO's refusal to obtain Aviation Height Clearance Certificate. 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.
"A 30-day ultimatum has, therefore, been given to Globacom Limited and other defaulters to regularise their operations with NCAA forthwith. However, if there is similarly no response, NCAA will immediately embark on mass decommissioning and demolition of all their masts and towers in Nigeria," Adurogboye said.