by Kolapo Olapoju
The Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson has dissociated herself from the comments of a deputy director in her ministry, who claimed that the use of mobile phones can cause cancer.
Deputy director, Department of Posts and Telecoms, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Ngozi Ogunjiofor, had on Thursday, 7 August, stated that the public should not bring phones close the body.
She made the comments while representing the Minister at the launch of the Etisalat Flagship store in Abuja.
She said, “The most dangerous and important element in the communications sector are mobile phones, because of the health and other relate risks they bring. Some radioactive elements in the mobile phone might affect the body and cause cancer and other health challenges. Radiation from phones can cause problems, and this is why we are advising the public not to bring phones close to their body, or use in the rain.”
“Radio waves produced by mobile phones could interfere with important electrical equipment, such as telecom masts, monitors, hospitals equipment’s and electrical systems on airplanes, and that is why the ministry made it mandatory for operators to install their masts five kilometres away from residential areas,’’ the director added.
“Mothers should not allow their children to play with mobile phones, especially when they are not of the age of using a mobile phone and are not well educated on the use of it,” she added.
However, in a surprising development, on Friday, 8 August, the Minister distanced herself from Ogunjiofor’s comments, saying the claims were not backed by proven scientific analysis, thereby making it the director’s personal opinion. And she did it in the most caustic way possible.
Speaking through her Special Assistant on Media, Efem Nkanga, she said the director’s stance was not consistent with that of the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology. According to her, it was the “mis-informed view of the Director”.
“There are no proven health hazards resulting from the use of mobile phones, or proximity to telecommunications installations for now that could pose a risk to human health. Until results of a definitive and conclusive research are obtained with zero doubts on the safety of cell phone use, Nigerians can safely continue using their mobile phones.”