The Nigeria Communications Commission NCC has denied reports that the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun and many other states across the country has afforded the commission the opportunity to install the controversial 5G network cables. There have been insinuations that the Federal government is using the lockdown to install the controversial 5G network which some claim is responsible for the Coronavirus pandemic and can lead to many deaths.
In a statement released on Wednesday April 8th, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said indeed there is an ongoing digging for fibre optic cables and deployment of other telecoms equipment by mobile network operators (MNOs) across Lagos and other states but that this exercise is only being done to expand the network infrastructure of telecommunication companies across the country to provide more efficient services to the consumers.
He said he had to make the clarification following the insinuations being spread by some individuals through viral video, audio and textual contents on social media that some ongoing digging/excavation activities and laying of fibre optic cables by MNOs in Lagos and in some other states are connected to 5G equipment deployments.
“As we speak, any information suggesting or claiming that the equipment being deployed by the network operators are 5G equipment is purely misinformation deliberately orchestrated by individuals bent on creating ill-feelings in the industry.” Danbatta said
He called on Nigerians to disregard such unfounded and ill-motivated information in its entirety regardless of whoever, no matter how highly-placed or lowly-placed, is making the insinuation.
“As the telecoms regulator, we enjoin Nigerians to get accurate information from us rather than relying on information emanating on social media by some individuals out of ignorance to misinform our people,” Danbatta said.
Setting the record straight, Danbatta said the ongoing digging and fibre optic cable laying by some operators are in accordance with agreements reached during meetings by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and Management of the NCC with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) led by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Executive Governor of Ekiti State in January 2020, during which the Forum gave its commitment to allow the network operators expand their networks by granting right of way (RoW) approvals for telecommunications infrastructure expansion, unhindered, across their states. He said this will significantly reduce drop calls and improve networks performance of the operating companies.
“The Governors’ Forum agreed to allow the telecoms operators to expand their networks by granting the telecoms operators necessary permits, which they had been having difficulties in getting before now. This will help them expand their networks for more effective service delivery to Nigerians. That is exactly what was or is ongoing in Lagos and in other states. It is to improve their networks infrastructure” he said
Danbatta, however, re-emphasised that the Commission has not commenced any licensing process for 5G, saying what the Commission had carried out was a 5G trial for three months, during which it will be able to certify its safety to end users and guarantee its desirability for deployment in the country.
“In line with our regulatory process with respect to technology-neutrality, type-approval and other regulations aimed at protecting the citizens and ensuring standards are complied with in the Nigerian telecoms industry, NCC ensures that adequate trial is conducted before a new technology is introduced. This is essentially to ensure public safety. This is a priority for us at NCC. Similar trials were carried out by NCC on earlier technologies that we use today, ranging from 2G, 3G and 4G,” Danbatta added.