Telecommunications companies have bowed to threat from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) after the aviation agency doubled down on its threat to demolish 8,805 masts, most of which belong to Globacom and eight tier-one banks.
According to media reports, the network operators and financial services will be meeting with the NCAA today, Friday, to review the Aviation Height Clearance requirement as well as proffer solutions to the issue. However, despite the commencement of consultation, the regulatory agency isn’t ruling out the demolition of the masts.
Recall that the NCAA announced that it will begin demolishing masts and high structures belonging to telecoms firms and commercial banks with immediate effect, after the 30-day ultimatum given to secure the Aviation Height Clearance approval for every tower installation in the country elapsed.
Extortion claim trails AHC: The AHC was, however, described as a form of extortion by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), who threatened not to rebuild the masts if they eventually get demolished. They also warned that the impact will cut across sectors.
ALTON accused NCAA of trying to enforce a new tax on telecoms operators by threatening to demolish their masts if AHC is not obtained. The association’s grievance is that despite the multiple taxations already imposed on telcos, regulators are weighing other methods of taxing the network operators more.
Note that NCAA regulations stipulated that no person or organisation should put up a structure (permanent or temporary) within the navigable airspace of Nigeria unless such a person or organisation is a holder of the Aviation Height Clearance.
The following are the affected companies:
- The 7,012 masts owned by Globacom Nigeria,
- 439 masts belonging to United Bank of Africa,
- Guaranty Trust Bank‘s 295 masts,
- Unity Bank‘s 217 masts
- Sterling Bank‘s 159 masts.
- Union Bank‘s 92 masts
- First City Monument Bank‘s 205 masts
- Fidelity Bank‘s 83 masts
- Access Bank‘s 303 masts.