NCAA asks telecom operators to offset debts


Posted by Sade Williams

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised all telecom operators who are yet to remit their outstanding payments to do so without further delay.

This advice was given by the Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman during a meeting with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications operators of Nigeria (ALTON) in Lagos.

Under the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (Establishment) Act, Section 7(1) (n), 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.

Therefore, pursuant to the above provision, the Regulatory Authority requires an Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) approval for every highrise structure, mast, tower  installation, irrespective of the height and location.

According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 12.1.7.1.11.the AHC shall remain in force for a period of one (1) 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.

However, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) requested for a meeting with the Director General to resolve certain perceived grey areas.

Inclusive in these grey areas are that AHC should be a one off exercise, no renewals and structures for AHC should be selective – not all, particularly if it’s not deemed to endanger air navigation.

In his response, Capt. Muhtar Usman frowned at the obvious illegality of the directive by the association to its members to cease payments until when all matters related have been resolved.

The DG therefore espoused all relevant statutes that bequeathed NCAA the authority to render such services, and recover costs associated. He said NCAA is a law abiding organisation has been reluctant to review the fees for so many years even when the reality at inception of the charges have considerably changed.

According to Capt. Usman, Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 12.1.7.1.12. 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.

With this, there is a compulsory continuity in surveillance inspection of existing structures within the Nigerian airspace to ensure sustenance of safety of air navigation.

The Director General, thereafter reiterated that all operators with arrears of payments should endeavour to remit such without further delay to avoid sanction. Nig.CARs Part 12.1.7.1.6. stipulates that, the Authority shall use all legal means of ensuring the removal of any structure(s) which are erected or constructed without compliance with the provision of these Regulations.

Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, the President of ALTON, in appreciating the engagement requested for a bilateral committee consisting officials of both NCAA and ALTON to be established to hold periodic meetings for a smooth working relationship.

The NCAA will continue to demonstrate zero tolerance for non adherence to safety requirement as enshrined in the Civil Aviation Regulations. Sundry violations will be viewed seriously.

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