The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has shut down a base station in Wuse 2 Abuja operated by telecoms giant Globacom due to a N5 billion debt.
NCAA DG Capt. Musa Nuhu led a security squad to the Glo Center for the enforcement under the supervision of the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, according to a Nairametrics report.
According to the Director-general, the agency would continue to block Glo’s Main Switch Centres across the nation unless the telecom operator agrees to a payment plan.
The agency says the debt was owed by similar telecommunications networks in the country, however, all other telecoms providers have been paying, except for Globacom, which has not paid since 2007.
“The action we took is for the safety of aviation in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, any masts after a certain of height, we are supposed to regulate it to ensure that it is properly covered.”
According to Nuhu, it was the NCAA’s policy that whoever constructed the masts would be responsible for paying for the NCAA procedure.
The NCAA official said the agency had written to Globacom many times about the issue, but that the mobile network provider had declined to honour meeting invitations.
“One of Glo’s coordinating centres was disabled today in Abuja to pressure the company to commit to a payment plan. They owed NCAA and we have been on it for years. They do not honour meeting and do not give any payment plan.”
According to the most recent follow-up letter sent by the agency dated October 4, 2021, NCAA claimed that it would have no choice but to begin removing Globacom’s masts across the nation without further notice following its refusal to pay the due fees totalling N5 billion,
“In the circumstances, having exhausted all options for resolving this situation, we are now left with no alternative but to impose the appropriate consequences, which include the countrywide destruction of all your non-compliant masts.” “And this shall be without further warning to you,” NCAA Legal Adviser/Head, Compliance and Enforcement, Emmanuel Chukwuma, said in the letter.
“I am directed to inform you that the NCAA is not disposed to granting this latest (fourth) request to reschedule the meeting, particularly, as no reason was given for your non-attendance on the last date.”
If the shutdowns continue and the intended statewide mast demolition goes through, the telecom business, which has more than 50 million subscribers, would face major problems.
Users of its networks have been known to express their dissatisfaction with the low quality of its services, and NCAA punishments would elevate the problem.
To add to the list of its worries, Glo, which was absent from the recently ended 5G spectrum auction, would be unable to establish a 5G network for at least two years until the Nigerian Communications Commission distributes licenses.
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