By Adegboyega Oni
The Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Captain Muhtar Usman has advised all telecom operators yet to pay their outstanding Aviation Height Clearance fee to the authority to pay on time without further delay to avoid sanction.
Capt. Muhtar Usman gave the advice during a meeting with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Telecom operators have been argued that AHC should be a one off exercise, no renewals and structures for AHC should be selective – not all, particularly if it is not deemed to endanger air navigation. The association directed its members not to pay the fee.
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 18.104.22.168.11.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.
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 and told Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, the President of ALTON all relevant statutes that bequeathed NCAA the authority to render such services, and recover costs associated.
He maintained that NCAA as 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 Usman, under the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 22.214.171.124.12, NCAA 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.
He noted that 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.
‘’All operators with arrears of payments should endeavour to remit such without further delay to avoid sanction. Nig.CARs Part 126.96.36.199.6. 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,’’ said Usman.
He added that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (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.
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.