The Senate has urged the Federal Government to withhold the deployment of 5th generation (5G) network for the time being pending when the study of the trend of its deployment across the world can be ascertained.
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 in Nigerian citizens”
The Senate had on the 5th of May, 2020 following a motion by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central) mandated the Joint Committee to conduct investigation into “The Status of 5G network in Nigeria and its technological impact on Nigerian citizens”.*
Even though the upper legislative chamber could not establish any evidence linking 5G technology to Covid-19; it went ahead to the MNOs to halt their plans to deploy 5G network in the next six months to conduct scientific research to confirm whether or not there is any connection between 5G network and public health.
The committee recommended that Nigeria should still observe the trend of 5G deployment around the globe and engage in extensive sensitization of the public through all channels before commencemen of commercial deployments in the country.
The chairman of the joint committee, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos), while presenting the report, 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.
She 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 revolutionize Nigerians’ way of life from education to agriculture, security to entertainment, and governance in general if the technology is deployed;
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 utilized 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, recognize telecommunications infrastructure as public utility infrastructure; and engender public trust and confidence,” she said.
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 6 months to ascertain if a correlation exists between 5G networks and public health.