Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has charged media practitioner both traditional and online to use their platforms to change the negative falsehoods and misinformation peddled about the health and safety implications of deploying 5G technology.
Danbatta disclosed this during the capacity building training for members of Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday.
Danbatta who was represented by Dr. Ike Adinde, director, Public Affairs, NCC, stated that the misrepresentation of 5G technology has the potential of derailing the launch of this new technology in our clime.
According to him, “Many Nigerians including citizens in more civilized countries were hooked on the notion that the introduction of 5G technology was the reason behind the spread of the novel COVID-19 Pandemic.
“This misconception was even made worse because those saddled with the responsibility of informing, educating and enlightening the average Nigerian telecom consumers were also bereft of the knowledge of this new technology and hitched a ride on the band wagon of doubters.
“This is the reason why training such as this is necessary for members of NITRA who have continued to cover the ICT industry in Nigeria.
“We will ensure that the NCC maintains this training periodically for our crucial stakeholders in the media to ensure that the information that reaches the average Nigerian is accurate and timely.
“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that whatever we want to introduce to the Nigerian telecoms space is well understood by Nigerians and all those who make use of our telecoms services”.
Danbatta further applauded members of NITRA for working assiduously in providing coverage for the commission’s activities, as well as providing a platform for its various narratives in terms of the policy initiatives and actions taken to support the national economy.
“Without your continuous cooperation, understanding and professionalism, the Nigerian audience would not have been properly informed about the activities of the NCC”.
He explained that in 2019 the commission undertook trial of 5G in selected locations within the country in collaboration with an Operator, adding that The trial, among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present.
“The Commission also has an ongoing engagement with the academia while at the same time funding 5G related research projects, all in a bid to ensure the nation is provided with the best in terms of research findings and policy input to drive the implementation and deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria”.
He added that the Commission only recently published the Draft Consultation Document on the Deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technology in Nigeria
Danbatta reiterate that 5G will affect the global economy and drive growth exponentially. 5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035, supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services. This impact will be much greater than the current 4G network.
In his words, “5G when fully deployed will provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as provide deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations.
“In addition, 5G will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.”
He also noted that, “Due to its sheer scale and scope, the ITU predicts 5G will accelerate the achievements of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger.”
He assured NITRA that he Commission will continue to support capacity building and other initiatives which foster closer interaction and build stronger relationship with its members.