Coronavirus in Nigeria and the issues with 5G Network

The first confirmed case of the ongoing worldwide pandemic coronavirus disease widely known as 'COVID-19' was announced on 27th February 2020 in Nigeria, when an Italian citizen in Lagos tested positive for the virus, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 'SARS-CoV-2.'

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Signs and Symptoms. Source:

The outbreak which was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, in December 2019 was declared to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January 2020 and recognized as a pandemic on 11th March 2020 by The World Health Organization (WHO).

As of 7th April 2020, more than 1.34 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 200 countries and territories, resulting in approximately 74,800 deaths while more than 284,000 people have recovered.

According to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the country's leading national public health institute, there are over 200 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria in 14 states.
The states with confirmed cases as of 6th of April, 2020 are Lagos, Abuja, Osun, Edo, Oyo, Bauchi, Akwa-ibom, Kaduna, Ogun, Enugu, Ekiti, Rivers, Kwara, Benue and Ondo.

Many conspiracy theories shared on and off social media claims that fifth-generation wireless technology, known as 5G mobile networks are the cause of the novel coronavirus pandemic ravaging Nigeria and the world especially with the recent views of American singer Keri Hilson who later faced backlash for saying 5G could be causing coronavirus.

In Nigeria, the case is not different as many social media users have linked COVID-19 with 5G.

From Nigeria's former minister of aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, ex-senate member Dino Melaye and a host of others, 5G mobile network is the leading cause of the spread of the coronavirus in Nigeria and around the world but the reports have being debunked by several news media outlets, health officials within and outside the country.

According to The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the independent regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry in the country, in its latest press release dismissed reports connecting the 5G network to the coronavirus disease even though the agency already noted that no license has been issued for 5G transmission in Nigeria.

The press statement released on 5th April, 2020 and signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu stated that in view of the recent development in which misleading materials with no proven evidence are being circulated to link CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19 with 5G Technology, it has become imperative for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide the following clarifications:

Firstly, there is no correlation between 5G Technology and COVID-19. 5G is an advancement on today's 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively.

Secondly, there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment. The NCC back in November 2019 approved trial test for 5G for a period of three (3) months, and the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned.

The trial among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were invited to participate during the trial.

The NCC will continue to maintain its policy of technology neutrality and will continue to encourage Service Providers to deploy the best technology that will meet the needs of the society in a secured and friendly manner.

Question on 5G mobile network and Covid-19 in Nigeria 

The following are frequently asked question about Coronavirus in Nigeria and the issues with 5G Network as published by The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) .

What is 5G ?

5G is a fifth generation of mobile technology which is an improvement on today's 4G technology with enhanced capabilities. The 5G technology provides the platform for new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to improve the way we live and work.

Is there 5G network in Nigeria ?

According to NCC, there is no 5G network in Nigeria at the moment. Trial test was only done for 3 months which has since been concluded.

When will Nigeria roll-out 5G network ?

No exact time frame but when conditions are right and all doubts are cleared.

Is there spectrum for 5G mobile network in Nigeria ?

Yes, particularly the millimetre wave spectrum from 24GHz and above are available.

Has NCC issued 5G spectrum to mobile network operators in the country?

No. It will be auctioned at the appropriate time.

Are there 5G deployment around the world?

Yes, in countries like South Korea, China, USA, Germany and others since middle of 2019.

Is the radiation from 5G different from those of 2G, 3G and 4G?

No, they all belong to the same class of Non-ionizing Radiation.

Who is going to Allocate spectrum for 5G in Nigeria?

The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) Chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has the responsibility for allocating bulk spectrum for various services.

Should I be concerned about 5G technology?

No, nothing to worry about. Safety and human health are top priority in the design and deployment of 5G.

What are the benefits of 5G ?

5G technology will transform the world by connecting everything with everybody. It will create millions of jobs, it will add billions of dollars to the economy (GDP), and can solve some of our problems such as insecurity and improve governance and efficiency in the society.

Is 5G causing CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19 ?

No, there is no link whatsoever between 5G and CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19.

Should I ignore all the negative narratives I am hearing about 5G ?

No, but rely on information from world standards making bodies such as WHO, ITU, IEEE and industry experts for advice when in doubt.

Is there standard limit set for Radiation from mobile devices?

Yes, there is radiation emission limits set by the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) below which the radiation is considered safe for humans.

Are the mobile network operators in Nigeria conforming to the Radiation emissions limits?

Yes, the NCC has been regularly conducting measurements of radiation emissions from base stations across the country and they are all well below the set limits.

Is 5G same as Fibre cable ?

No, fibre cable is a terrestrial technology for broadband that existed for decades while 5G is a new mobile technology for enhanced quality of service as explained earlier.

Are there other sources of radiation apart from mobile Base stations?

Yes, there are other sources of radiation which include television stations, radio broadcasts stations, wifi and so on. They all belong to the class of radiation considered to be safe for humans when operated below the set limits.

Who owns 5G?

5G is not owned by anybody but collection of technologies, standards and processes agreed at the international level by standards making bodies.

Has NCC issued licenses for 5G in Nigeria ?

No, NCC has not issued any licence for 5G in Nigeria. NCC is technology neutral as such don't license technology but assigns spectrum to operators for deployment of any service when allocated by NFMC.

Why are some operators rolling out fibre during the lockdown period?

As a result of the lockdown, the amount of voice and data usage has increased by huge amounts and there is need to expand the network to provide optimum quality of service to users sitting at home. Telecom is also critical for information dissemination during the lockdown.

While there is no relationship between pandemic novel Covid-19 and 5G mobile network and it has not been scientifically proven to be harmful to human health, let's keep staying safe, obey health agencies instructions on Coronavirus in Nigeria and keep social distance of at least 1 meter with people around us.

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