From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has disclosed plans to present a draft policy on the adoption of Fifth Generation (5G) technology at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration.
Pantami who said this on Thursday at a hearing on the status of 5G network in Nigeria, said the presentation of the draft policy would be done immediately after the conclusion of their research on 5G network implementation in Nigeria.
The public hearing was organised by the Senate Joint Committees on Communication, Science and Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Cyber-Crime and Primary Health Care.
The Minister said: “We have not gotten there, whether we will deploy 5G, but we are on track conducting research, investigations, engaging stakeholders and definitely if all issues are addressed, the executive will support the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.
“We are not operating in circles, Nigerian telecommunication sector is part and parcel of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) where issues of telecommunications technology and its impacts are been discussed.
“At the international level, we are in the process of compiling our final position. And most of our position will be part of the draft national policy which will be presented at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).”
He further stressed that the primary concern of ministry is to ensure the security, welfare and safety of Nigerians, in the deployment of any technology. He said the trial on the impact of 5G in Nigeria was approved by the Federal Government in some selected cities like Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Calabar.
“On Sept. 25, 2019, we conducted the first trial on 5G in Nigeria. In order to demonstrate trust and prove leadership by example. I personally pledged to make a trial so if there is any security implication or medical implication, then I would be number one victim.
“And if there is any relationship with COVID-19, I will be the first victim, to date I have not contracted the virus. And I did a test up to ten times,so I did the trial personally. The position is that we are almost at the final stage. So now, Nigeria is ready for 5G as long as we address the major challenges,” he said.
He however added: “The only issue being raised is about radiation, but people don’t realise that the radiation of 4G is more harmful than that of 5G. The radiation of microwave oven at home is more harmful than that of the 5G. The radiation of even the smartphone itself is even more harmful than that of 5G.”
While making his comments, the President of the Senate, Sen Ahmed Lawan, said that the investigative hearing was crucial given the controversy surrounding 5G network.
“We all remember the surrounding disagreements, following the outbreak of the COVID-19. It was one controversy that needed clarification, not just from the government or the public sector, but from the private sector,” he said.