[UPDATE on June 20, 2021 at 23:24 WAT]: We have confirmed that the Nigerian Senate did in fact approve plans to deploy 5G after the presentation of the report by the Joint Committee on Communications, Science and Technology, ICT, and Cyber Crimes and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases. This happened on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. This is the correct position of things. Please bear this in mind while reading.
Original story continues below.
On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, the Nigerian Senate asked the federal government to suspend plans to deploy the 5G network pending a six-month investigation into possible health risks associated with the technology.
This development comes after the presentation of a report by the Senate Joint Committee on Communications, Science and Technology, ICT, and Cyber Crimes and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases.
The Committee, led by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, had been directed to investigate the status of 5G deployment in Nigeria and its impact on citizens. This was due to a motion sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwunife on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, Vanguard reports.
In her debate, Ekwunife advised there was a need to investigate health concerns surrounding the deployment of 5G in Nigeria, citing the importance of ensuring that Nigerian citizens are not exposed to an unreasonable risk of significant bodily injury or harm.
While the Committee did not discover any link between 5G and COVID-19, and any other health implications, it has advised caution in the rollout of the 5G network and close observation of global attitude to its rollout.
The deployment of the 5G network in Nigeria has been shrouded in endless controversies, some of which we reviewed in this article.
After much research, the World Health Organization found no adverse health effects linked to the 5G technology despite operating at frequencies slightly higher than those of 4G and 3G.
Recall also that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 -- coincidence? -- signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited on the use of C-band Spectrum for 5G services in Nigeria.
All signs have so far pointed to steady movement in the direction of 5G deployment in Nigeria. But the Senate’s current stance seems to be another roadblock erected on this route.
The government’s seeming two-facedness to the rollout of 5G raises questions about whether it has any actual plans to deploy the technology in the country.
Nigeria continues to lag behind on the continent, as countries like South Africa and Kenya, where Safaricom launched in March 2021, already enjoy the 5G technology.
What should we expect next? Stay tuned to Techpoint Africa for more.