Embattled Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy and the Chairman, National Frequency Management Council, Isa Pantami, has revealed that he was one of the Nigerians who kicked against the use of mobile phones when it was first introduced in the country.
The minister made the disclosure as part of strategy to allay the negative speculations on the deployment of the 5G network in the country.
Nigerians were averse to the deployment of the technology leading to stakeholders’ engagements and a panel was set to investigate its safety.
The trial of 5G in Nigeria first took place in 2019 in Abuja.
Pantami who spoke at the public presentation of National Policy on 5G Network and Spectrum for 5G Deployment and the hand-over of the 3.5 gigahertz Spectrum to the Nigerian Communications Commission in Abuja, said that Nigerians have the right to be skeptical about the 5G deployment.
Pantami said, “In 2020 if I could recall vividly in April and May, it was something else. Many citizens were complaining that 5G brought about Covid-19. You know how crazy we are in this country. Anything you drop without looking at the source or authenticity, people will take it.
“I can personally recall that when mobile phones came into Nigeria, some people resisted and there was an allegation that it was linked to cancer and many more.
“I will not feel shy to say that even my humble self, I couldn’t accept the use of mobile phones till after one year. A friend of mine who was working here in Abuja then purchased the mobile phone, and SIM card and sent it to me and said I must use it.
“Maybe he wanted to keep in touch with me so he compelled me to accept mobile phones then. This is to show you that that is our nature. Sometimes we tend to be conservative in doing that.”
On the 5G, he stated that the government suspended the deployment of the technology to address the concerns of Nigerians which was important to the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said, “If one person is to be infected by Covid-19 virus, then I should be number one in Nigeria.
“Yesterday I did another Covid test prior to the Federal Executive Council, it was my 52nd test and I’m grateful to almighty Allah that all of them are negative.”