Senate demands 5G deployment’s suspension, wants health concern addressed

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The Senate on Wednesday asked the Federal Government to suspend plans to deploy the 5G network technology in Nigeria till further notice.

The red chamber equally directed the Nigerian Communications Commission, and the Mobile Network Operators to put the exercise on hold for now to enable them to study the trend of 5G deployment across the world.

The Senate took the decision when it considered and passed the report of its Joint Committee on Science and Technology, ICT, Cyber Crime, and Primary Health Chaired by Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

The upper chamber had on the 5th of May, 2020 mandated the joint committee to conduct investigations into the status of the 5G network in Nigeria and its technological impact on Nigerian citizens.”

The development followed a motion by Senator Uche Ekwunife.

The committee recommended that Nigeria should still observe the trend of 5G deployment around the globe and engage in extensive sensitisation of the public through all channels before commencement of commercial deployments in the country.

The chairman of the joint committee, while presenting the report, said the overwhelming aggregate opinions from majority of stakeholders was that it was appropriate for Nigeria to join the comity of nations that are engaged in the deployments of 5G for all its inherent gains.

Tinubu said the joint panel was 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.

Tinubu said, “The committee clarified that there was no 5G deployment in Nigeria at the moment and that no license has been issued to any Mobile Number Operator on commercial basis.

“It urged the relevant government agencies to prepare the ground by putting the necessary infrastructure and technology in place for its eventual deployment.

“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.

“It will enable them to, complete sustainability plans, provide enabling environment including free-Right of Way; tax waivers, sustainable power supply, improve security of men, materials and equipment.

“It will eliminate multiple regulations and charges, recognise telecommunications infrastructure as public utility infrastructure; and engender public trust and confidence.”

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

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