United States envoy to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has urged the Federal Government, telecoms operators and network users to prioritise security as preparations have reached an advanced stage to deploy the 5G network. She warned that allowing mistrusted telecommunications service providers to participate in or control 5G network would create risks to national security, critical infrastructure, privacy and respect for human rights.
Leonard made the assertion at the 2021 International Legislative Stakeholders Conference on Digital Technology and Cyber Security organised by the Senate Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime yesterday in Abuja. She noted that national measures should be deployed to mitigate significant security risks from high-risk suppliers, regardless of their nationality, by precluding such suppliers from providing 5G network infrastructure, equipment, software and services.
The envoy said to safeguard the infrastructure, essential services, public safety, consumer protection, privacy and economic prosperity, “we all need to ensure that we can prevent, detect and respond to cyber security incidents and hold criminals and countries responsible for any malicious cyber activity in their domains.” Earlier, Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and cybercrime, Yakubu Oseni, noted that ICT had become the key infrastructure that promises to make the world a much safer place, but criminal elements around the world have chosen to turn the ICT revolution into a nightmare.
He stated that the gains of digital technology and revolution were being dampened by the rapid evolution of the cyber security threat landscape, adding that cyber attacks were increasing in sophistication and severity. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has refuted alleged health risks and other related tendencies associated with the deployment of the 5G network in the country.
NCC Director, Technical Standard and Network Integrity, Bako Wakili, who dismissed what he described as a ‘make-believe argument,’ insisted that no scientific proof could be attributed to the claims. Wakili, who spoke during a capacity building for media practitioners on the deployment 5G in Nigeria, said that there was clear evidence of minimum radiation as against the false information being peddled around.
He said research published by International Commission on Non-lionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) showed that the 5G spectrum emits less radiation below the maximum intensity of radiation, which he said, was not inimical to human health. Wakili said Nigerians would witness telecommunications digital transformation, with a significant impact on the economy through jobs creation, which would stimulate efficiency in various sectors of the country’s economy.