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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NCC warns operators over threats to lives

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has warned that it would not allow telecommunications to endanger lives of Nigeria.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, gave this warning last weekend in Abuja while receiving the Director General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr. (Mrs) Ngeri S. Benebo and her team.

According to him, NCC would not allow any industry operator to endanger the lives of the Nigerian people in the process of carrying out their telecommunications business.

Ndukwe explained that the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) technology is a mobile system that functions effectively with base stations, stressing that what the Commission has done is to set guidelines that must guide the erection of such towers and masts in order to create a standard.

He cited for instance, that some studies have shown that mainland Britain alone has over 40,000 towers while Nigeria currently has about 15,000.

The difference shows in the quality of telecommunications services available in the two countries although Nigerian operators are continuing with their roll out of base stations in order to improve their services.

“Without base stations, you have no communications,” he said.

Ndukwe noted that in the past there have been all kinds of health concerns expressed about base station especially those located in residential areas.

He observed that although the steel structure of a mast may look imposing “it is only the small antenna at the top that has any connection with radiation, pointing out that the output might be very negligible.

“The radiation from the electric pole is more; even a TV antenna radiates more power,” he said.

Ndukwe assured on the readiness of NCC to work with other agencies like NESREA in other to give the best to the Nigerian people.

“As government agencies, it is mandatory for us to engage in continuous discourse.
The best approach is this kind of meeting we are holding today,” he told his guest.

Earlier, Dr. Benebo had commended the success of the telecommunications industry but noted that even as Nigeria keys into breakthrough in telecommunications sector in order to meet up with modern challenges, it is however imperative that the various key players in the sector are properly regulated and encouraged to adopt the environment friendly and best available technologies.

“There is also need to check the proliferation of communication masts with due regard to human rights, public health and environmental quality,” she advocated.

Both agencies promised to work together in ways that can develop the country’s telecommunications sector and improve the environment.

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