As debates continue on the possibility or otherwise of the fifth generation technology (5G) is culpable in the spread of coronavirus, the telecommunications regulator in Nigeria, has disclosed plans to make public its findings with regards the trial of the technology in the country.
Recall that Nigeria became the first country in West Africa to conduct trial of 5G in November 2019. Now, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, has said that trial results are been studied by the Commission and will disclose the findings while making recommendations to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Prof. Danbatta made these remarks while appearing on Channels Television programme.
He dismissed reports linking radiations from 5G cell sites are part of the reasons COVID-19 was spreading fast in certain countries.
Fielding questions from the programme anchor, Seun Okinbaloye, the EVC said, “The type of radiation we are talking about is non-ionizing radiation which is being regulated by the International Commission for Non-Ionization Radiation Protection.
“Therefore, before any spectrum is assigned for the rollout of telecommunication services, this Commission would have looked at the spectrum in question and advice all agencies across the world. I am referring to Regulatory Agencies in telecommunications. They will advise about the safety of utilizing such spectrum for the deployment of telecommunication services.
“In addition to the ICNIRP, we have the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). These are standard benchmarking global bodies of reckoning who will strongly advice against the deployment of any spectrum that will have adverse effect on citizens across the world.
“So, we do not have scientific evidence to show any coloration between the 5G spectrum and COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the Nigerian context, what we have done so far is embark on a trial of 5G using two spectrums – 3.5G and 3.26G. The Commission will come up with a position with regards the safety or otherwise of this spectrum that was rolled out for the trial services in five locations in the country. The results of these trials are been studies by the Commission (NCC).
“The interesting here is whether the levels of radiation emissions are above or below as specified by these international agencies.
Asked by the Anchor about the conspiracy theory regarding Wuhan and New York where 5G have been deployed respectively and the death rates recorded over COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Danbatta said, “There is no scientific evidence yet to support the theory you have just advanced. We have to be very careful in associating 5G with the spread of COVID-19 in those places people are mentioning. There are other places in other countries where death rates are high and of which 5G services have not been rolled out”.
The EVC also responded to the question regarding why trees in some areas positioned to where 5G cells have been installed seem not to be surviving and birds unable to perch on them, he said, “I do not know such environment; if you are referring to the Nigerian environment we normally conduct tests around sites of base stations (transmission stations) across the country. It is on the basis of these tests that we establish whether the radiations emanating from the devices positioned there to provide services to the citizens are harmful within the locations and outside. And we have not come across any base station that contain anything as harmful radiation to the citizens.
Reacting to concerns on the height of the 5G cell sites which appear close to human inhabitations, he said, “So far, there is no commercial rollout of 5G in this country. I want to assure Nigerians about this. The reason is because the discussion about 5G (in Nigeria) is still at the trial stage.
“This has just been concluded and we will come up with a statement, recommending to the government as to the safety or otherwise on the rollout of 5G services. And for the height of 5G transmitter stations or masts, these again are regulated by the Commission including step-back distances away from houses, buildings, etc. Every base station been installed must conform to the specifications which are spelt out in our guidelines. If there are such base stations that default our attention should be drawn to it so we can take regulatory action”, he concluded.