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NCAA begins demolition of 8,805 telecommunication masts nationwide

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday disclosed readiness to demolish no fewer than 8,805 unlicensed telecommunication masts nationwide.

The move follows the expiration of a 30-day ultimatum earlier issued to owners and operators of unlicensed masts and towers around airports nationwide.

The demolition exercise will largely affect the operations of Globacom Nigeria Limited, some banks and financial institutions, who have allegedly discountenanced the authority’s regulatory requirements on the clearance to erect high structure within the navigable airspace.

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The telecoms giant, Globalcom Nigeria has a total of 7,012 masts already marked for demolition. United Bank of Africa (UBA) follows with 439 masts. Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) has 295, Unity Bank 217 masts, and Sterling Bank has 159 of such facility now under threat.

Others are Union Bank, with a total of 92 masts, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) 205 masts, Fidelity Bank 83, and Access Bank 303 masts.

NCAA, at a parley in February this year 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, said the apex regulator was left with no choice as the 30–day ultimatum given to those telecommunication service providers had expired.

Adurogboye said prior to the expiration of the ultimatum, letters of reminder were sent to all affected organisations to obtain Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) for their masts.

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The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NigCARS) 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.

In line with this, the regulatory authority requires an Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) approval for every tower installation in the country irrespective of the height and location.

Adurogboye said it should, therefore, be noted that under the Civil Aviation Act. 2006, section 30(3) (1), the NCAA 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 telecommunication operators who have not regularised their masts are as follows :- 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.
Therefore, a total of 8,805 masts belonging to the aforementioned organisations will be decommissioned forthwith,” he said.

The NCAA said it would continue to apply requisite sanctions for violation of extant regulations, especially where the resolve of the authority is tested.


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