A major dispute has broken out between Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and mobile giant Globacom Nigeria Limited and others.
NCAA is threatening to demolish 8,805 masts belonging to Globacom and the others.
Its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, in a statement, said the demolition will affect some banks and other financial institutions which discountenanced NCAA’s regulatory requirements on clearance to erect any high structure within the navigable airspace.
He said the regulator was left with no choice but to pull down the masts since the 30 – day ultimatum given the telcos has expired.
Reacting to the threat, telcos warned aaginst acts that will compromise national security and lead to total telecoms blackout in the areas affected.
The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) should take note of the impending threat.
Its Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said if the NCAA carries out its threat, the avaiation regulatory body will pay damages as the matter will be taken to court. He said any telecoms mast destroyed will not be replaced, accusing NCAA of going beyond its brief.
Read also: ‘How to save airlines from collapse ‘
Adebayo said the association had been discussing the issue with NCAA, adding that discussions have not hit brackwall.
He accused of NCAA of being driven by the desire to generate revenue than that of national security.
But Adurogboye said prior to the expiration of the ultimatum, letters of reminder were written to all affected organisations to obtain Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) for their masts.
Adurogboye said NCAA had earlier warned all Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) providers and telecoms operators against violation of safety regulations.
Adurogboye said: “This is derived from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NigCARS) Part 220.127.116.11.3.1 which 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 AHC Certificate granted under this regulation.
“In line with this, the regulatory authority requires an AHC approval for every tower installation in the country irrespective of the height and location.
“It should therefore be noted that 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.
“While some of the providers and operators have since commenced regularisation of their masts, others have failed to do same.”
The NCAA spokesman listed telecoms operators which have not regularised their masts to include Globacom Nigeria-7,012 masts, United Bank of Africa-439 masts, Guaranty Trust Bank-295 masts, Unity Bank-217 masts and Sterling Bank-159 masts.
Others are Union Bank -92 masts, First City Monument Bank-205 masts, Fidelity Bank-83 masts and Access Bank-303 masts.
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