The Nigerian Communications Commission on Tuesday warned that misinformation in both the traditional and online media could derail the launch and implementation of 5G network in Nigeria.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, gave the warning at a capacity building programme for members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association in Abuja.
Danbatta, who was represented by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs of NCC, noted that false information has continued to be peddled concerning the health implications of the 5G network on humans, despite its immense benefits to the society.
He recalled that many Nigerians, as well as people in other parts of the world, erroneously believed that 5G was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “A lot of falsehoods and misinformation have been peddled both on online and traditional media outlets about the health and safety implications of deploying 5G technology.
“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.”
The NCC boss highlighted the advantages of the 5G network, which, according to reports, could enable up to $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services by 2035.
Danbatta said: “As I stated in my speech during the NITRA Innovative Tech forum, according to a recent landmark economy study conducted by Qualcomm, 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.”
Danbatta further pointed out that when fully deployed, 5G 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 organisations.
“Due to its sheer scale and scope, the ITU predicts 5G will accelerate the achievements of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger,” he said.
The NCC boss noted that the capacity building training for ICT reporters was necessary as it would help to counter misinformation about 5G the media.
Danbatta said: “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.
“The onus is on all of us here today to make sure that we take this training seriously and take advantage of it to expand on our horizons.
“This is very necessary so that when we report events or activities relating to the industry, we are able to translate them into a language that the common man will readily understand.”
The theme of the training: “Capacity Building for Telecoms Reporters,” was in line with the tradition of the NCC to provide capacity building for stakeholders in the telecommunications sector.