Senate begins work on health emergency bill
THE Nigerian Senate today ordered federal government to step down the planned deployment of the 5G network in Nigeria until a proper investigation is conducted.
The order was sent through the Ministry of Communications.
The decision follows the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Lilian Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra-Central) entitled ‘The present status of 5th Generation (5) Network in Nigeria’.
Senators who made their contributions said since experts in the communications sector were yet to conclude that its deployment will pose a health challenge, the 5G rollout should be suspended.
The Senate mandated a joint committee made of Communications, Science and Technology, ICT & Cyber Crimes to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the status of the 5G network in Nigeria and its technological impact on Nigerian citizens and report back within four weeks.
Senator Ekwunife said in her earlier argument that “5G reportedly holds a lot of promise for mobile broadband services because of its faster speed and better capacity.
“There is neither a conclusive proof nor has it been universally established that the deployment of 5G Network is neither harmful to the human body or is in anyway linked to the global pandemic of COVID-19.
“A lot of countries like South Korea, United Kingdom and Germany have successfully deployed and are using the 5G Network. Several countries, including Switzerland, one of the world leaders in the rollout of 5G mobile technology, has placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of 5G network because of health concerns,” Ekwunife said.
Similarly, within one week after Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, sponsored a legislation entitled ‘National Health Emergency Bill,’ Nigerian senate today commenced proceedings on the bill.
The Senate Bill is sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu-North) who is also Chairman of Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases.
The Bill which passed first reading on the floor of the upper legislative chamber was immediately opposed by Senator Ike c(PDP, Enugu-West) who, referencing Order 41 of the Senate Standing Rule, said the bill is already generating controversies in the House of Representatives
“I rely on Order 41 of the Senate Standing Rule. As a senator, I am entitled to know the details of this Bill. We want to have copies of the gazetted copies. There is controversy over the same Bill in the House of Representatives. We don’t want to have the same issue here. We need to be guided to avoid any backlash. I need to read it and prepare ahead of time,” Ekweremmadu said.
But while responding, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said copies will be given to members. He added that the second reading will be taken next week, while senators go through it.
“The copies are ready and everybody will get a copy. We are not taking the second reading immediately. That will be done next week. So members will have the time to read the contents of the bill,” Lawan ruled.