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Rumours linking 5G to COVID-19, baseless conspiracy theories — Expert

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An Information and Communication Technology expert, Mr Jide Awe, on Sunday described rumours linking coronavirus to the roll-out of 5G technology as baseless conspiracy theories and misinformation.

Awe, also the Chief Executive Officer of Jidaw Systems Limited, made  this known in an interview with  Newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.

He noted that most of the  misinformation on 5G came from a deadly mix of ignorance, unsubstantiated evidence and zeal.

Awe said there had always been concerns about the dangers of radiation from cell phones and networks, noting that even if  the concerns might be genuine, they were  unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

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“I was shocked when I saw 5G networks being linked to the emission of coronavirus; false information should not be passed around at a period like this where a lot of people are having panic attacks and feeling uncertain due to the virus outbreak.

“The concerns are about radiofrequency radiation from cell networks, but mainstream science studies have shown no link and research is still ongoing.

“Issues that are totally unrelated are now being muddled up on the Internet by these conspiracy theorists using the social media platforms.

“I have watched many of the videos and even read their studies on 5G, but the truth is that their so called findings are not recognised by any credible sources in the global academic, scientific and health communities, which include organisations such as World Health Organisations (WHO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU),” Awe noted.

He said that most of the conspiracy theories emanated from random blogs or videos on social media that had  become not just influential but dangerous.

“It is so sad that we have prominent people in the society being hoodwinked and helping to spread the misinformation,” the ICT expert said.

He said NCDC had warned that in the  response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was necessary to stop the spread of rumours and fake news.

Awe said that this rumours of 5G being linked to Coronavirus was particularly disturbing as it diverts attention and energy away from areas that should be focused on.

“5G is an incredible technology that will transform the world and lives; it will also enable us maximize emerging technologies such as Internet of Things(IoT), Artificial Intelligence(AI) and video applications to drive innovation and productivity.

“With the right policies it can help in addressing our developmental challenges. It will be a shame if we allow misinformation to hold us back and deny our children this unique growth opportunity.

“The funny thing is that quite a few countries including Nigeria have no 5G networks yet we already have COVID-19 confirmed people. So, how come?

“South Korea was the first to launch a 5G network and there have been no negative reports,” he noted

Awe said that people should be able to reason that technology advanced countries in Asia, Europe and America, who were competing aggressively in the 5G space, would not want to endanger their populace if the network was dangerous.

“The danger with conspiracy theorists  is the fact that they just make things up, because there is no proof, evidence and rigorous evaluation to their claims.

“It is disturbing that this should be our focus in this critical period,” Awe said.

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