The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority says it shut down the main switch centre of Globacom Limited at Wuse 2, Abuja, over non-payment of N4.7 billion debt due to “tremendous pressure” by the federal government.
The NCAA director-general, Musa Nuhu, carried out the exercise on Wednesday under the supervision of aviation minister Hadi Sirika.
“My agency is under tremendous pressure by the federal government of Nigeria, and we will do our best within the power vested on us to make sure the debt is settled,” Mr Nuhu told journalists after locking up the tower that the facility would be switched off until Globacom paid the debt.
He disclosed that the company had paid only N500 million out of the N5.2 billion it owes, pointing out that the outstanding debt was N4.7 billion.
According to him, other telecommunications service providers are paying except Globacom, which has failed to meet up since 2007.
“The action we took was for the safety of aviation in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, any masts after a certain height, we are supposed to regulate it to ensure that it is properly covered,” added the NCAA boss.
He added, “We do fly aircraft. We do flight helicopters, and it could be drones, among others things we fly. Not necessary regular passenger flight. Police, PHCN and all those people; do patrol all over the country. I am sure you have seen their helicopters. That is why it is important for us to ensure we have all these in the roadmap and put them in action.”
According to Mr Nuhu, the NCAA wrote 15 letters to Glo without a “tangible reply” since he assumed office.
”Of recent, when I came, then we sat down we have been speaking silently. They have paid some money, but they still have almost N4.7 billion debt remaining. None of the communication services providers has that amount due for payment,” said Mr Nuhu. “That started in 2007. We don’t like shutting down things but we have to take this drastic action because we are having financial issues and pressures from different sectors of government.”