LAGOS—THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Wednesday, threatened to sanction telecom operators over N1 billion naira debt owed the agency over the years.
Despite several warning letters, the operators have allegedly refused to pay their outstanding debts.
According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 22.214.171.124.11, ‘the Aviation Height Clearance, AHC, shall remain in force for a period of one year when it shall be due for renewal unless suspended or cancelled by the authority. Similarly, the holder of an AHC certificate shall ensure proper records of AHC granted to it and the renewal of the AHC at least 30 days to the expiry date.
Confirming this development, General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said NCAA had held a meeting with the operators, through its umbrella body, Association of Licensed Telecommunications operators of Nigeria, ALTON.
He warned that those with outstanding payments were asked to pay without further delay to avoid sanction
Adurogboye said: “Under the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (Establishment) Act, Section 7(1) (n), the NCAA was empowered to prohibit and regulate the installation of any structure, which by virtue of its height or position was considered to endanger the safety of air navigation. Pursuant to the above provision, NCAA required an Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) approval for every high-rise structure, mast, tower installation, irrespective of the height and location.”
He also said it was the warning from NCAA that prompted a call for a meeting by ALTON in order to resolve certain perceived grey areas. Part of the grey areas, according to him, were that AHC should be a one-off exercise, no renewals and structures for AHC should be selective, stressing that not all high-rise masts were deemed to endanger air navigation.
However, this position canvassed by ALTON, did not go down well with the NCAA Director General, Captain Usman Muhtar, who is against the directive of the association to its members to cease payments until when all matters related had been resolved.
Usman said: “Nig.CARs Part 126.96.36.199.12, say the authority shall carry out surveillance inspection of existing structure within the Nigerian airspace – on aerodrome or off aerodrome to ascertain the compliance level of the structures with safety measures in terms of painting, markers, lightings and approved heights for the structures.”
In his reaction, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, the President of ALTON, while appreciating the engagement requested for a bilateral committee consisting of officials of both NCAA and ALTON to be established to hold periodic meetings for a smooth working relationship.