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Telecos take NCAA to federal government over mast demolition plan

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Telecommunications operators in the country have urged of the federal government to call the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to order over its threat to decommission telecoms masts around airports.

Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said any mast decommissioned would not be re-fixed, “and the implication is that communications services, mostly around the airport, will be impacted negatively, which will rub off badly on the economy.”

It said a total of 8,805 masts belonging telecoms operators and banks would be decommissioned forthwith.But in an interview with The Guardian yesterday, chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, expressed surprise at the development, saying that several calls had been coming from within and outside the country over the development.

According to him, NCAA is yet to meet with the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and some key stakeholders on the matter, “but went straight for a media stunt, announcing that it would bring down masts. I want to believe that the director-general of NCAA wouldn’t have approved that, because I know him to be a gentleman.

“But I am of the opinion that the NCAA media director should have been fired by now for misguiding the public. The commission has no such right to decommission any mast. This is not acceptable at all.”Adebayo stressed that the supposed masts had been around the airports for years, with planes taking off and landing without any issue.

“None of the towers posed any threat to aviation. They are not located at flight paths. It is only those that are on flight path that are dangerous. The commission is just looking for avenue to rake in funds. There will be serious prosecution if such act is carried out.”

The ALTON chairman said it was disappointing that agencies of government were still involved in the destruction of much-needed infrastructure in the country.He noted that telecoms remains “infrastructure of all infrastructure” in the country, adding that any attempt to destroy such infrastructure would rub off badly on Nigeria’s emerging economy.

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ALTONGbenga Adebayo
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