Senate mulls indefinite halt on use of 5G Network over health concerns

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Bill for National Health Emergency passes first reading in Senate

•Says Switzerland, others have done same
•Probes status of 5G Communication Network in Nigeria

By Henry Umoru

STRONG indications emerged yesterday that the Senate is considering a halt  on the use of 5th Generation ( 5G) Network in Nigeria because of health concerns.

The Senate is said to be towing this line because several countries, including Switzerland, one of the world’s leaders in the rollout of 5G mobile technology, have already placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of 5G network due to health concerns.

Consequently, it has begun a probe   into the present status of 5th Generation ( 5G) Network in Nigeria, and mandated its Committees on Communications, Health, Science and Technology and ICT and Cyber Crimes to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the status of G5 Network in Nigeria and its technological impact on Nigerians and report back at Plenary in four weeks.

According to the Senate, it has become very imperative to carry out this holistic   investigation into the matter because of the growing concerns on the ongoing discussions about the current status of the 5th Generation( 5G) Network in Nigeria, especially with regard to whether or not Nigeria is currently connected to the 5G Network.

The Committees, with Communications Committee, with Senator Oluremi Tinubu, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos Central as the lead, should report back in four weeks.

The Committee on Health( Secondary and Tertiary)   is chaired by Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, APC, Kwara Central; Science and Technology Committee has Senator Uche Ekwunife, PDP, Anambra Central as Chairman, while ICT and Cyber crime is chaired by Senator Useni Yakubu, APC, Kogi Central.

The resolution of the Upper Chamber was sequel to a motion, titled “the  present status of 5th Generation (5G) Network in Nigeria”, sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwunife, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anambra Central.

Presenting the motion, Senator Ekwunife said:  “The Senate notes with growing concern the ongoing discussion about the current status of the 5th Generation Network in Nigeria, especially with regard to whether or not Nigeria is at present connected to the 5G Network.

“It notes further the concern by some scientists and medical experts that the emissions from the 5G towers could adversely affect the health of citizens by causing symptoms such as damage to eyes, antibiotics resistance, and other physiological effects on the nervous and the immune systems.”

According to her, the Senate is “mindful of the recurrent health hazards which are usually associated with technological advancements such as the 5G network, and the need to conduct a thorough test, prior to the deployment of new technology.”

Ekwunife said that the Senate is “aware of a statement by Dr. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication, in October 2019 during the 39‘“ Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai, UAE (Oct. 6 Oct 10, 2019) that Nigeria was “ready to deploy 5G N etwork across the country” to ease network flow.

“Aware also that in a subsequent interview, the Minister of Communication indicated that no license has yet been issued by the Federal Government for the operation of 5G network except for a three month study trial granted to MIN which commenced on November 25, 2019, and intended to critically review and study the health, security implication of deploying 5G in Nigeria.

“Acknowledges that 5G reportedly holds a lot of promise for mobile broadband services because of its faster speed and better capacity.”

She said the Senate “further acknowledges that there is neither a conclusive proof, nor has it been universally established that the deployment of 5G network is either harmful to the human body or is in anyway linked to the global pandemic of COVID-19.

‘’A lot of countries as South Korea, United Kingdom and Germany have successfully deployed and are using the 5G Network.

“The Senate is concerned that the uncertainty surrounding whether or not the 5G Network has been launched in Nigeria will continue to fuel the speculations and rumours concerning the deployment of the 5G Network and its effect on the citizens of Nigeria.

“It is further concerned about the massive infrastructural upgrade as has never been seen before, which will follow the launching of 5G Network in Nigeria.”


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