November 26, 2022

The Office of the National Security Adviser and the Minister of Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, yesterday differed on the deployment of the Fifth Generation in Nigeria.

They spoke in Abuja at an investigative hearing on the status of 5G network in Nigeria, organized by Joint Senate Committee on Communications, Science and Technology, ICT & Cyber Crimes and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases.

While Pantami said Nigeria was ready for the deployment of 5G; the ONSA expressed concerns about the deliberate vulnerabilities and backdoors within the network’s equipment.

ONSA Director of Communications, Bala Fakandu, said: “We’re aware that the deployment of 5G will come with different types of equipment and so we understand that the stakeholders in the telecommunications industry will make effort to ensure that they upgrade their systems in order to meet up with the new technology.

“But we’re concerned about the deliberate vulnerabilities and backdoors within the 5G network equipment. That’s one of the key concerns we’ve and this will make the infrastructure highly susceptible to eavesdropping, tracking, cyber attacks, military and industrial espionage and other malicious activities by foreign actors.

“We urge the Honourble Minister to carry the office along in the development of the policy so that we could have a robust framework to take care of this areas.”

Pantami said his ministry had conducted the first trial of 5G in Nigeria on 25th September 2019 and was in the process of compiling its final position.

“And most of compiled position will be part of my draft national policy which will be presented at the Federal Executive Council.

“The position is that we’re almost at the final stage. So now, Nigeria is ready for 5G as long as we address the major challenges,” he said.

He noted that so, far no negative impacts had been established from the research and trial carried both locally and at the international level.

He assured that there was no link between 5G and COVID-19 and any other disease.

“The only issue being raised usually is about radiation. But people don’t realise that the radiation of 4G more harmful than that of 5G.

“The radiation of microwave oven at home is more harmful than that of the 5G. The radiation of even the smart phone itself is even more harmful than that of 5G,” he added.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the Senate would only approve the deployment of 5G network only if the security and safety of the citizens are guaranteed.

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