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Participants of the Bilateral meeting between NCAA and ALTON

NCAA charges Telecoms operators to offset hundreds of millions in accumulated debt

FOLLOWING a meeting with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have advised all telecom operators who are yet to remit their outstanding debt to do so without further delay.

Nigerianflightdeck learnt that the telecoms operators are indebted to the tune of hundreds of millions to the NCAA after they stopped paying since 2016 having gone to court to contest continuous payment.

Payment in the past was steady before ALTON issued a directive to its members to cease payments until when all matters related have been resolved.

A statement issued by General Manager Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye stated that in today’s meeting, the Director General NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman reminded ALTON that the regulatory body will continue to demonstrate zero tolerance for non adherence to safety requirement as enshrined in the Civil Aviation Regulations.

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.

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