Isa Ali Pantami

Buhari Okays National Policies on 5G

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday approved the national policy on fifth generational networks for Nigeria’s digital economy, 5G.

The policy includes the deployment of 5G network.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the First Lady’s Conference Room, Presidential Villa, Abuja, also said the federal government shut down telecommunication activities in Zamfara State over banditry at the instance of security agencies.

He said: “Furthermore, the policy discusses the benefits to be attained through the deployment of 5G in Nigeria and in any part of the world which includes lower latency, larger capacity, and higher data rate.

“These are the three major benefits of fifth generation. And in a simple language, we can say it will open many opportunities economically, academically, educationally and even in the health sector. And it will also support our security institutions, particularly in areas where they need high quality services.

“So, these are some of the benefits to be anticipated when fifth generation or 5G is deployed in Nigeria.”

He recalled that during 5G network trials in Nigeria in 2020, some citizens had complained about its alleged link to COVID-19, which he said had been dispelled.

Pantami said: “Prior to that, as you all know, in 2020, there was a time we started the fifth generation trials. And there was a complaint from citizens about the relationship between 5G and COVID-19.

“Because our government is a responsible one, we put everything on hold. We engaged more stakeholders. We spent almost 18 months working on that. And we also waited for the resolution and verdict of the two most important organisations globally when it comes to the deployment of telecommunications facilities.

”These are the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, which is an arm of the United Nations, and also World Health Organisation, WHO, which is another arm of the United Nations. Both of them confirmed that there is no adverse health effects of 5G and it has not been proven to be any harmful to our health.

“Most importantly, even its frequency and radiation is even lower than that of 4G, and it is lower than the televisions and microwave we have at home.

“So, they have already issued that. And they explain about its safety, and also they advised nations on the regulations and the standards to be used in the course of the deployment. And the Nigerian Communications Commission has been directed to ensure that all the standards, regulations are complied with.”

He disclosed that the 5G spectrum would soon be released by the National Frequency Management Council to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

Pantani explained: “The National Frequency Management Council, which is the statutory council in which I happen to be the chair will release the spectrum of 5G to the Nigerian Communications Commission in bulk when the conditions of deployment are met, so that the Nigerian Communications Commission on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria, will release the spectrum to the mobile network operators for the deployment of 5G.

“With the approval of this national policy on fifth generation, or 5G, NCC has been directed to start working immediately to come up with regulatory instrument that will ensure its safety, and many more.

“Our government gives more priority and preference to the health and security of our citizens as in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended under Section 14, Subsection 2 Article B.

“So, that is why our subsidiary legislation is going to be developed to ensure that 5G will only be useful in Nigeria, and we cannot allow it to be harmful in any place.”

In his remarks at the briefing, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malla Garba Shehu, who moderated the briefing, said FEC also approved the National Policy of Food and Nutrition.

He said FEC also approved the consultancy for the design and construction of the second runway of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja for N500 million.

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