The Civil Liberty Organisation yesterday in Abuja urged Nigerians to desist from Lobbying telecommunication operators to install masts in their homes due to the adverse health implications.
Mr. Aba Ejembi, National Coordinator, Legal Assistance Network at the CLO, made the call at a two-day public hearing on the “Health Implications of the Mounting of Telecommunication Masts Close to Buildings’’.
The public hearing was organised by the House of Representatives.
Ejembi condemned telecommunication operators’ preference to mount masts at people’s homes despite the negative health implications, rather than complying with the guidelines.
“Despite knowing the implications, some people in the urban areas still lobby to have masts located in their premises for that extra income for school fees, feeding and medical bills.
“It is a combination of abject poverty and crass ignorance that make people in the rural areas to gladly jump at the monetary offer for the lease of their premises for the installation of masts,’’ he said.
Ejembi said studies showed that there were salient, long term problems that might affect the residents’ health, especially those living very close to the mast location.
“Report from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency shows that in its Dunanon Local Government District, residents that are between one and five kilometres from masts have several cancer cases, including prostate, lungs, leukaemia, lymphoma and haematopoietic cancers.
“Also, some of the masts that are erected are not very strong and there have been cases of towers falling down, causing environmental nuisance.’’
He, therefore, urged the National Assembly to embark on vigorous oversight of the regulatory bodies to ensure a more effective regulatory and enforcement practice in the country.
Ejembi also urged the lawmakers to compel the telecommunication companies to site their masts in compliance with internationally accepted standards.
He further advised the National Assembly to compel telecom operators to comply with the environmental impact assessment law in siting masts.
However, Mr. John Francis, representative of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), said the agency had not received any complaint on the impact of radiation on human beings.
“We look at quality of equipment used at the base stations to ensure they are up to the required standards.
‘’No complaint yet as regard the impact of those base stations on human beings,’’ Francis said.