Senate FG lopsided appointments

The Nigerian Senate has asked the Federal Government to suspend plans to deploy the 5G network technology in the country till further notice.

The Senate, who reached the decision on Wednesday 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, 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 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 the commencement of commercial deployments in the country.

The Chairman of the joint committee, while presenting the report, said the overwhelming aggregate opinions from the 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.

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 revolutionize Nigerians’ way of life from education to agriculture, security to entertainment, and governance in general if the technology is deployed;

Part of her report read, “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.

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

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

The committee urged the NCC 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 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.

Although the Senate said it could not establish any evidence linking 5G technology to Covid-19, it asked the MNOs to halt their plans to deploy the 5G network for the next six months.

The red chamber said it was to enable them to conduct scientific research to confirm whether or not any link exists between 5G network and public health.