Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy

Minister, stakeholders emphasise 5G poses no risks to public health and safety

*Nigeria’s Minister for Communications and Digital Economy and other stakeholders in the ICT industry have reassured consumers that there are no health risks to human lives associated with the deployment of 5G

*We hope all the submissions pointing to the same direction on safety of 5G to human lives will put the mind of Nigerians at rest, that there is nothing to fear ─Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, Lead Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As further clarifications on probable health risks of 5G deployment in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has affirmed that there are no known scientific evidence on health risks to 5G networks.

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, again, has allayed the fears of Nigerians on the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Communications Commission in a statement via its Web site noted the Minister clarified that there is no known scientific evidence till date suggesting that 5G poses any risks to public health and safety.

Pantami stated this when he led the heads of agencies under his ministry to an investigative public hearing by the Senate Joint Committee on Communications; Science and Technology; Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cyber Crimes; and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, at the National Assembly Chamber Thursday, February 25, 2021, in Abuja, FCT.

The heads of agencies under the ministry present at the hearing include Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Malam Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); and Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellites Limited (NigComSat).

Pantami speaking at the public hearing, confirmed that the findings from independent scientific reports published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and World Health Organisation (WHO), both agencies of the United Nations (UN), which clearly indicate that there is no health risks to human lives associated with the deployment of 5G.

He noted that after the initial approval by President Muhamadu Buhari, which led to the commencement, in 2019, of 5G trial in selected locations in the country and subsequent intervention of the National Assembly (NASS) in 2020, seeking clarifications on probable health risks of 5G deployment, the Ministry had undertaken wide-ranging stakeholder consultations to ascertain the safety of 5G networks.

Having aligned with the ITU and WHO reports and studied 5G deployment situations in many advanced countries where it has been fully deployed without any health risks, the ministry can affirmatively say that there are no health risks to 5G networks, stated Pantami.

He said: “To this end, we are also working on a 5G deployment policy that will take care of all security, health and safety concerns of Nigerians, and we will get the nod of the President, after all issues have been addressed before we proceed with our deployment, as we cannot afford to lag behind in the 5G revolution.”

According to him, 5G is an enhanced technology over the previous technologies of 4G, 3G and 2G, the three of which have more radiations than the 5G technology.

“Radiation from mobile technologies, such as 5G, is internationally certified by ITU and WHO as non-ionising, meaning such radiation does do not have harmful effect on human lives, and it is far low compared with radiation from microwave oven that individuals use in their homes,” the Minister stated.

Representatives of Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs), telecom equipment vendors, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), especially the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement (NESREA), and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), among several others also participated in the public hearing.

The statement said the stakeholders took turns to present their positions on 5G deployment and issues surrounding its health and safety concerns and almost unanimously aligned with the scientific reports from ITU and WHO cited by the Minister.

Dr. Ahmed Lawan, President of the Senate, in his address on the occasion, said the Senate resolved May 5, 2020, that the joint committee conduct the public hearing, following a motion of public importance and urgency by Sen. Uche Ekwunife, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology to resolve all public health and safety concerns around 5G before NCC can proceed with its deployment in Nigeria.

After all the views and submissions by the various stakeholders, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, Lead Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee, said that the purpose of the public enquiry was to help clarify and allay the fears of any health concerns among Nigerian consumers.

Sen. Tinubu stated: “We hope all the submissions here today, which point to the same direction on the safety of 5G to human lives will put the mind of Nigerians at rest, that there is nothing to fear.

“We also hope that Nigerians will be looking forward to having 5G deployed in Nigeria.”

She emphasised the commitment of the National Assembly to always taking a neutral position on any issue generating public health, safety and security concerns among Nigerians until more clarifications are sought from concerned stakeholders.

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