SENATE PROBES 5G NETWORK STATUS
The Senate on Tuesday the 5th of May, 2020 commenced a probe into the planned deployment of the Fifth Generation Network in Nigeria. The red chamber took the decision after it adopted a motion moved by Senator Uche Ekwunife. Ekwunife, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, had drawn the attention of her colleagues to the status of the 5G network in the country. She said her motion was born out of the need to assure Nigerians of their safety with the proposed launch of the network.
The Senate resolution is sequel to a motion on “The present status of 5th Generation Network in Nigeria.” Ekwunife in her lead debate noted that there were growing concerns on the ongoing discussion about the current status of 5G network in Nigeria. She said Nigerians were not sure whether Nigeria was presently connected to the 5G network. Ekwunife said there were further concerns by some scientists and medical experts that the emission from 5G towers could adversely affect health of citizens.
She explained that experts claimed that the network could cause symptoms such as damage to the eyes and immune systems among other adverse effects on human health. The senator, however, said 5G network had also been reported to hold a lot of promises for mobile broadband services because of its faster speed and better capacity. She nevertheless expressed concerns that the uncertainty surrounding whether or not the 5G network had been launched in Nigeria would continue to fuel the speculations.
Ekwunife said, “Several countries, including Switzerland, one of the world leaders in the roll-out of 5G mobile technology, have placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of 5G network because of the health concerns.” She said it was important to investigate the status of 5G network in Nigeria to ensure that Nigerian citizens were not exposed to unreasonable risk of bodily injury or harm. The Senate therefore asked its committees on communication, science, technology and ICT, and that of health to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to determine the status of the 5G network in the country.
The relevant committees are expected to submit their report in four weeks. However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, said it would be irresponsible of any government to subscribe to a technology that won’t be safe for its citizens. He noted that no scientific research had been done by any agency of the Federal Government on the 5G network. He said countries in Europe were already investigating the implications of the deployment and wondered why Nigeria had yet to do so.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, said the 5G network deployment remained a controversial issue. He said experts should be allowed to handle it and deliberate on the merits and demerits of its deployment.