Nigeria’s federal cabinet on Wednesday approved the Fifth Generation Networks Policy otherwise known as 5G to be deployed across the country.
At the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Patami said that the council, in approving the policy, took cognisance of the report of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) that pronounced the policy safe to human health.
He noted that the radiation of the 5G policy is lower than that of 4G currently in use by Nigerians, while the deployment of the policy, which is with immediate effect, will be carried out in phases between now and 2025.
The minister listed the benefits of the policy to include higher data rate, larger capacity and lower latency, while it will also open many opportunities economically, academically and render necessary support to the security agencies in areas where they need high quality frequency.
Pantami explained that it took government close to two years to come up with the 5G policy because of the initial resistance by stakeholders.
“I presented before the Federal Executive Council, which has also been approved after deliberation. That is the National Policy on Fifth Generation Networks for Nigeria’s digital economy, the national policy on 5G. So, that policy has been approved by the Federal Executive Council today.
“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 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.
“And prior to that, as you all know, in 2020, there was a time that we started working, and 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 engage more stakeholders.
“We spend almost 18 months working on that. And we also wait for the resolution and verdict of the two most important organisations globally when it comes to the deployment of telecommunications facilities.
“These are firstly International Telecommunications Union. That is ITU, which is an arm of the United Nations, and also World Health Organisation, that is WHO, which is another arm of the United Nations.
“Both of them confirm that there is no adverse health effects of 5G and it has not been proven to be any harmful to our health,” He said.
The minister said 5G’s frequency and radiation is even lower than that of 4G, adding that it is lower than the televisions and microwave Nigerians have at home.
“So, they have already issued that. And they explain about its safety, and also they advise nations on the regulations and the standards to be used in the course of the deployment. And this is something that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been directed to ensure that all the standards, regulations are complied with,” he said.
Pantami explained that Nigerians would recall that in order to create awareness and sensitise the people, the NCC has been reaching out to citizens through local languages to let them know the advantages of 5G.
“Even the deployment is in phases, we can only start with major cities in Nigeria, where there is need for very high quality broadband. So, only few places will start to benefit from it. And we do hope that the plan will come up immediately. That will show that from now to 2025, we will be able to ensure that significant towns and cities in the country will also benefit from 5G,” the minister stated.