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NCC says telecoms masts emit non-ionizing radiation, compares emission to TV signals

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…as committee meets for the first time for telecoms masts erection approval

In other to instill confidence on the Nigerian populace that telecoms masts pose no health hazard, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said telecoms masts do no emit ionizing radiation, and compared the emission of masts and towers to television signals.

“Every time we get complaints from masts and towers, it not about probably only the radiation from the antennas; they also talk about generator vibration, emission from generator, diesel spills from generators, and the distance from the house,” said NCC Head, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Efosa Idehen.

The compliance monitoring and enforcement head said that before 2009 when the guidelines for masts and towers came into existence, there was really no specification for distance, so people then were asking for mast to be brought to their locations because it enables access.

“By 2009 we developed the technical standard for masts and towers, and it specified everything in erecting masts and towers in the telecoms industry and it has taken care of all the issues.

“Any mast that falls, probably did not meet the standard, and when that happens, the few times it has happened, we actually got to the operators to ask why and actually audited the system to find out what happened and then took actions against those operators,” said Mr. Efosa.

Mr. Efosa further stated that when it comes to emission, the emissions from the antennas of telecoms are actually non-ionizing. “That is, they do not interact with human cells,” he said.

“We had a particular example when someone took an x-ray equipment to go and measure the radiation from masts and towers.

“Of course, x-ray equipments will pick up the ionizing radiations that are within the environment, and they ascribed that to the masts and towers.

“When this happened, we had to call experts from GSMA and from every other parts of the world to come and educate and that was when we started this EMF workshops which we are taking round the whole country,” Mr. Efosa further stated.

“From all research that we have read and the experts have also spoken about, says that as of today, there are no concrete evidence that radiations from masts and towers are harmful to man,” he added.

Speaking on the distance between telecoms masts and building, Mr. Efosa said, NCC technical guidelines stated 5 meters, and NESDRA stated 10 meters when they did their enforcement regulations in 2010.

“In 2014, we adopted the NESDRA standard, which is 10 meters to allay the fears of Nigerians,” not because the masts and towers are harmful, he said.

He added that “Anywhere there needs to be a mast because there is no service in that place, the first thing is to say, can you get 10 meters; if you cant get 10 meters, do you have more than 5 meters?” and said “if there is more than 5 meters, a committee was agreed, which the inaugural meeting would be on the 25th of this month. That committee will meet, access and say okay, we grant that base station this distance from the house”.

For vibrating generators, we ask the operators to remove them, and for emission from generators, we ask the operators to replace the generators, said Mr Efosa, adding that “This we do to make sure that there is comfort for people that are living close to base stations”.

On the limits of radiation, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta added that if you stand being harmed by signals coming from television sets, then you stand being harmed by signals coming from telecoms masts.

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