The Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Department of Development Control in the Nigerian capital of Abuja has initiated the removal of communication masts belonging to various telecommunications companies because they were put up “illegally”.
The masts in question are found at Kuchigoro, along Airport Road, and belong to network provider Airtel and telecommunication infrastructure giant Helios Towers.
The department said the masts were constructed without obtaining the required allocation papers (title documents), which would have stated where such masts should be placed instead of the current site that was intended to be a petrol station.
The department’s Deputy Director in charge of Aesthetics and Amenities, Arc. Mohammed Adamu Abuja, said the company received an official complaint from Ms Sassada Petroleum Ltd stating that the contentious masts were built on a plot of land belonging to the petroleum company.
After receiving the complaints, the department reached out to the respective mast owners requesting them to make their title documents or lease agreement available to the department.
Although Airtel Nigeria responded, they failed to submit the required documents. Helios Towers failed to respond at all.
He said both companies were served notices on March 20, 2012 in which they were directed to relocate their masts within two weeks. They, however, failed to do so, prompting the department to serve the companies final removal notices on November 23, 2012, which elapsed after seven days.
Abuja stressed the companies were given ample time to submit relevant documents or remove the masts on their own. However, the companies failed to adhere to any of the directives, necessitating the decision of the department to enforce its resolution.
In the wake of this, he advised all telecoms companies and their facility providers to ensure that necessary documents are obtained before they commence work on any property.