Tobi Aworinde, Abuja
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria has criticised the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority over its move to demolish telecommunication masts in different locations across the country with immediate effect.
The NCAA had said the demolition exercise would similarly affect some banks and financial institutions that had discountenanced its regulatory requirements on the clearance to erect any high structure within navigable airspace in the country.
The authority’s General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye, had said, “A total of 8,805 masts belonging to the aforementioned organisations will be decommissioned forthwith. The NCAA wishes to reiterate that it will continue to apply requisite sanctions for violation of extant regulations, especially, where the resolve of the authority is tested.”
This came after the NCAA in April had warned all Global System for Mobile Communications providers and telecom operators against the violation of safety regulations, with a 30-day ultimatum handed down for compliance.
But the President of ATCON, Mr Olusola Teniola, in an interview with our correspondent, condemned the move to destroy the towers, saying the Federal Government would rebuild them.
Teniola said, “We are disappointed that government is still involved in the destruction of much-needed infrastructure that provides services for those communities that will be impacted by the stance that the NCAA has made.
“We have said in the part, and in support of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, that those base stations and towers that are destroyed will not be rebuilt. We expect the government to now rebuild what they have destroyed.”
Asked if ATCON had attempted a dialogue with the NCAA since the ultimatum was given, Teniola said the aviation agency had approached ALTON.
He said, “It is not our position to do that. The NCAA has already consulted with ALTON. They are aware that their approach and stance is not about safety; it is about revenue. We are not in support of arbitrary methods used by individuals and entities to try and extract more money from this industry.
“Government needs to ensure that we have an enabling environment that is true to its cause and that they truly have been meaning that they are welcoming investments in the development of this country.
“We are now tired of having and seeing developments being destroyed. So, it is now for government to decide what type of development they want and for them to rebuild anything that they’ve destroyed. We will not be rebuilding those base stations.”