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Telecom mast

Aircraft height Clearance: Glo indebted to the tune of N2.7 billion

INVESTIGATIONS have revealed that telecom giant, Globacom is negotiating a N2.7 Billion debt owed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for Aircraft height Clearance (AHC), a debt accumulated over many months.

Our correspondent also learnt that another operator, has remitted almost three-quarter of its debt paying the NCAA N700million from the N705million owed the regulatory agency, over 90% of its debt profile.

These debts were amassed Nigerianflightdeck learnt from 2016 when the Association of Licensed Telecommunications operators of Nigeria (ALTON), adviced their members to stop payment having gone to court to contest continuous payment.

However, members of ALTON after ceasing payments since may have reached an agreement with the NCAA and have since commenced payments, while trying to defray their backlog.

Recall, things went downhill in April 23, 2019 when the NCAA issued a 30- day ultimatum to major Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) providers to comply with the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) or risk the pull down of their over 7,000 telecommunication masts and towers due to safety violation, that ultimatum has expired.

The NCAA’s threat of mass decommissioning and demolition of all service providers’ masts and towers in Nigeria, may have spurred them to become re-compliant with their payments and were begining to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) for their telecommunication masts.

However, some of the providers, Glo inclusive are still indebted and despite its representatives being present at the February 20 initial meeting, where they were asked questions concerning their refusal to obtain Aviation Height Clearance Certificate.

In response the delegates demanded to be furnished with the location of the masts. A booklet containing the coordinates and location of the masts was made available to the organization, still there has been no headway as negotiation over the humongous debt is still ongoing.

It is instructive to note that there are well over 40,000 masts and towers in Nigeria. Statutorily, all telecommunications operators should obtain Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) and ensure their annual validity.
Under the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, Section 30(3)(1), 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.

What this means is that these other defaulting GSM providers have been running their networks and providing inter-connectivity to millions of subscribers without Aviation Height Clearance Certificate thereby jeopardizing safety of air navigation.

Without Aviation Height Clearance, the masts and towers constitute danger to safety of air navigation and flight operations and it is considered a safety violation.

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