…Issues 30-day ultimatum to defaulting GSM providers
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has 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 a safety violation.
The action will be nationwide as it has been compelled to recourse to this line of action when the telecommunication providers blatantly failed to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) for their telecommunication masts.
According to the NCAA in a statement issued by General manager public affairs Mr Sam Adurogboye, “without Aviation Height Clearance, all these masts and towers constitute danger to the safety of air navigation and flight operations and so considers this a safety violation”
He said under the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, Section 30(3)(1), the NCAA was empowered to prohibit any regulate the installation of any structure which by virtue of its height or the position is considered to endanger the safety of air navigation.
Furthermore, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 126.96.36.199.3.1 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.
Adurogboye said 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 above Regulations, the promoters of Glo telecommunication and these 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 these other GSM providers from the Authority was not responded to despite that they were duly received by the relevant executives and duly acknowledged”.
According to him, Letters of Investigation (LOI) were written and delivered to them with no response recorded till date.
He recalled 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 saying it was to reiterate the need for all masts and towers erected in Nigeria to adhere to safety regulation and ensure the safety of air navigation.
“At the meeting, Globacom representatives were present and were asked questions concerning their 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 organization.
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.”
Adurogboye explained that there were well over 40,000 masts and towers in Nigeria, adding that all telecommunications operators should obtain Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) and ensured their annual validity.
“What this means is that Globacom and these other defaulting GSM providers have been running their networks and providing inter-connectivity to millions of subscribers without Aviation Height Clearance Certificate thereby jeopardizing the safety of air navigation.”