Senate to FG: stop 5G Network deployment in Nigeria

The Senate, on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to stop the proposed deployment of 5th Generation (5G) Network for mobile telecommunications in the country because of health concerns.

This followed the consideration and adoption of the report of the Joint Senate Committee on Communications, Science and Technology, ICT, Cyber Crime and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases on the ‘Status of 5G Network in Nigeria and its impact on Nigerian citizens.’

It could be recalled that the Senate had on the 5th of May, 2020, considered a motion sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwunife, titled: “The Status of 5G Network in Nigeria and its technological impact on Nigerian citizens” and mandated the Joint Committee to investigate the matter.

Given the infancy of the technology, according to the upper chamber, it has become necessary for Nigeria as a country to pay more attention to “testing and researching potential health risk that may arise from the deployment of 5G network”.

The recommendation of the committee that the Federal Government should monitor the trend of 5G deployment around the world and engage in extensive sensitization of the public through all media channels before commercial deployment of 5G Network in the country was adopted by the Senate.

The Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Oluremi Tinubu presented the report.

Tinubu said the overwhelming aggregate opinions from majority of stakeholders was that it is appropriate for Nigeria to join the comity of nations that are engaged in the deployments of 5G for all its inherent gains.

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She said the joint Committee is convinced that having witnessed what has been achieved by its ‘lesser ancestors’ such as 3G and 4G, the technological impact of 5G will be such that will revolutionise Nigerians’ way of life from education to agriculture, security to entertainment, and governance in general, if the technology is deployed.

She noted that there is no 5G Network deployment in Nigeria at the moment and that no licence has been issued to any Mobile Network Operator on commercial basis.

The Lagos Central lawmaker urged the relevant government agencies to prepare the ground by putting the necessary infrastructure and technology in place for its eventual deployment.

Rumours across the world, including Nigeria, had linked COVID-19 to 5G technology, prompting the Senate to embark on a thorough investigation to determine the veracity of the claims.

Tinubu said: “Also concerning the interaction between COVID-19 and 5G Network Technologies, the Joint Committee confirms and is convinced that there is no connection between them.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by biological agent – virus – which is scientifically unconnected with the 5G technology.

“While the Joint Committee clarifies that there is no 5G deployment in Nigeria at the moment and that no liscence has been issued to any Mobile Network Operator on commercial basis, it is our recommendation that Nigeria should still observe the trend of 5G deployments around the globe and engage in extensive sensitization of the public through all channels before commencement of commercial deployments in the country.

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“This period of ground preparation is expected to be utilised to complete feasibility studies for the various broadband projects in order to ascertain actual cost implications for their implementation, complete sustainability plans, provide enabling environment including free-Right of Way (RoW); tax waivers, sustainable power supply, improve security of men, materials and equipment, eliminate multiple regulations and charges, recognise telecommunications infrastructure as public utility infrastructure; and engender public trust and confidence.”

The committee urged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in collaboration with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Federal Ministry of Environment, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) among others to locally conduct a scientific experimental study over a period of about six months to ascertain if a correlation exists between 5G network and public health.

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