The Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF), a body comprising private stakeholders advising the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on consumer issues, have called for more sensitization awareness ahead of 5G deployment in Nigeria. The body at its quarterly meeting held on July 29, in Lagos, said this became imperative to disabuse the minds of Nigerians on various conspiracy theories about the technology.
According to the group, all stakeholders, including the Federal Government, the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the NCC must be involved in this strategic sensitization project to make 5G deployment a success in the country.
In his key note address at the meeting, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta said while the country had successfully carried out a trial of 5G in 2019, the widespread concerns that greeted the regulatory move by the government affected the journey. “There were misconceptions, orchestrated misinformation and disinformation, in both online and historical media, linking 5G with COVID-l9 pandemic and cancer. Based on the tension created, the government, in its wisdom, directed that a more robust investigation be carried out to ascertain the actual national security and health implications of 5G deployment on the people of Nigeria,” he said.
Danbatta, however, noted that Investigations have so far been conducted and the outcome of the inquiry made public.
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“You may therefore ask: What is the current status of 5G in Nigeria? Well, I am happy to inform you that The Senate, the upper arm of Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, has adopted recommendations of its joint committee, which was constituted last year to ascertain the technological impact of 5G deployment on Nigerian citizens.
“The Senate was convinced that the technological impact of 5 G will transform our lives in education, agriculture, security, entertainment, and indeed, in governance in general, when the technology is deployed. The Senate’s decision to recommend the deployment of the 5G technology was based on information provided by relevant government establishments, private sector organisations and industry experts who maintained that 5G poses no risks to human life,” he said.
He added that while the Commission deferred to counsel by observing the trend of 5G deployments around the globe before taking a plunge, as a responsible regulator, “we are also engaging all stakeholders in extensive sensitization through cross-media and multimedia channels before the commencement of commercial deployments of 5G in Nigeria. Objectively, we also expect various ongoing regulatory efforts at deepening broadband deployment.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has reiterated its support to the NCC on efforts towards the deployment of fifth generation technology (5G) to serve the Nigerian populace and in line with growing trends in the sector.
Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of ALTON, stated this in his paper presentation titled “Deployment of New Technology for Improved Consumer Experience, 5G Misconception, and Conspiracy Theory” at the ICAF meeting.
He said that mobile technologies have “transformed our way of life, providing more effective and efficient channels for the conduct of socio-economic endeavors across a broad range of sectors including but not limited to finance, agriculture, medicine, and education.”
“Mobile technologies contributed significantly to this journey by facilitating communication through devices. From 1G through to 4G, every successive generation has introduced advances in network capabilities and capacity, and the next generation of mobile networks will be no exception,” he said.