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The NESREA, NCC Feud Over Telecoms Masts
Nigeria Created: 17 Aug 2012
Two federal government agencies, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Environmental Standard Regulatory Agency (NESREA), recently engaged each other in a show of supremacy over how to use or not to use Nigeria’s environmental space for telecommunication business purposes.

There are claims that the masts used by telecom providers radiate electromagnetic field (ETF) rays which are injurious to health. While NCC certifies a five-metre distance and other requirements, NESREA insists that it is “too close to residential buildings” and stipulates a minimum of 10 metres, as stipulated by its 2007 establishing Act. NESREA has consequently shut down a number of base stations that contravened its position.

But the executive vice chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said the law empowers it as regulators to make regulations which become subsidiary laws for the telecommunications industry. He noted that empirical evidence shows that the radiation from a telecommunications mast is less than what we get from our television to justify its setback rule of five metres for masts.

Under the law, the NCC, created via Decree No. 75 of November 24, 1992 (amended in 2007), has the right to regulate telecommunication activities in Nigeria. In placing base stations, environmental impact assessment (EIA) negates the NESREA Act. It is therefore preposterous for Juwah to insist that “we have a right to set standards about size and setback of masts, among other matters”. A “subsidiary law” cannot be equal to a subsisting Act of parliament.

What is indisputable is that mobile phones communicate with towers through radiofrequency (RF) waves and that medical doctors have found that radiofrequency waves or electromagnetic fields are capable of damaging human tissues at high intensity.

The radiation from them, they said, heats body tissues the same way microwave ovens heat food. The rapid increase in the use of mobile phones has led to a corresponding rise in the number of transmission masts in many places in the country. Some studies and medical cases are said to have shown that these masts are the cause of serious illnesses.

But both the World Health Organisation (WHO), and minister of health Onyebuchi Chukwu said that research has not been able to provide support for a causal relationship; research findings have been mixed.

Much as the relationship between these elements are contentious, we would seek local research to establish the nexus or otherwise of EMF to human health. Given the large number of mobile phone users, it is important to investigate, understand and communicate any potential public health impact from mobile phones and masts, which work by transmitting radio waves through a network of fixed antennas called base stations.

There is also a need for legislative framework to resolve the grey areas between the regulatory agencies on issues of operations, infrastructure, and consumer rights and protection.

Agencies of the same government could bicker. Where extraneous considerations befuddle national interest and citizens’ welfare, erring agencies ought to be whipped back in line by their supervising ministers.

The Goodluck administration should act swiftly to mitigate the challenge posed by the recently established Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (UFRU) in Lagos State that has a mandate to regulate the building and maintenance of telecom masts across the state.
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Source: Leadership, Editorial, 10 Aug 2012

'Comply with environmental standards', NESREA tells Telecom operators
Nigeria Created: 5 Jun 2012
The National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) in Kebbi has threatened to shut down organisations that violate specifications on the erection of telecommunications masts.

NESREA state co-ordinator, Kasim Ahmed, added that the agency would adhere to all environmental sustainability practices in line with set standards.

"Masts must comply with provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment act and environmental audit," Ahmed said.

He said there were dangers in locating telecommunications masts close to residential areas, as the masts would result in emission of radioactive elements that impair the immune system and neurological functions in humans.

Ahmed added that the masts also cause cracks in buildings, while depression and fatigue also arise from radiation impacts on fertility, metabolism and other health complications.
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Source: Dialy Times, Vincent Ehiabhi, 10 May 2012

Reps clamp down on location of telecom masts
Nigeria Created: 31 May 2012
The House of Representatives has approved a bill seeking tougher action on the location of telecommunication masts by phone companies amid health concerns about the electromagnetic radiation produced by the antennas.

The rays have been linked with serious health problems, mainly cancer. The law, seen through a second reading on Tuesday, proposes to clamp down on the indiscriminate location of masts and electric power lines, particularly around residential areas.

Expert have also urged the telecommunication authorities to adopt the sharing of the facilities where possible, to reduce the number of masts built.

Lawmakers renewed that call on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and plan to make it mandatory for transmission posts to be shared amongst operators.

The bill is to be reviewed by the House Committee on Communication, and awaits a third reading, a concurrence by the Senate and a presidential assent to be law.

“If you walk the streets of the country today, you will find several operations emitting dangerous electromagnetic substances,” said Kingsley Chinda (Rivers/PDP), the sponsor of the bill. "The bill is not limited to communication masts, it also relates to electricity poles which are located dangerously close to human habitation.”

Also, speaking in support, Peter Akpatason (Edo/ACN) described the bill as "a proactive attempt to protect Nigerians from unhealthy exposure from electromagnetic substances.”
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Source: Daily Times, Iferi Etuk, 31 May 2012

Dangers of Telecom Masts
Nigeria Created: 22 Apr 2012
A medical report has confirmed that telecom masts in residential areas could pose health risks. Pa Afolabi Oyekanmi, who permitted a telecom company to erect a mast in his compound, is now full of regrets. According to him, it is the cause of the myriad of health challenges he now faces. "I curse the day the mast was erected here.

If I die, the telecom company is responsible," he said. The medical report issued to him at the Ado Ekiti University Teaching Hospital confirmed that some of the ailments "were caused by radiation from the telecommunication mast" erected within his premises.

The Adebusola Ogundipe family in Ibadan, Oyo State, is also on the verge of "extinction". The mother suffers sensation of pains and tingling on the legs and has been diagnosed at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, to have developed leukemia (cancer of the blood). Her children suffer memory loss, dizziness and bleed from their noses.

The veterinary doctor father said his domestic animals have all been wiped out. Doctors have linked emission of the electromagnetic impulses from the masts located close to their homes as the primary cause of their crises.

Telecom masts in residential and educational areas are dangerous but the regulatory agencies, the National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), have failed to enforce the World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations concerning the harmful practice. WHO warns that masts should be located at least 10 metres away from residential quarters.

Though telecommunication has created jobs and given a boost to investments in the country, we frown at the attitude of the average Nigerian landlord who puts money first in letting out a piece of land before thinking of the health hazards to the community. We also condemn the callous activities of telecom firms that capitalise on the people's naivety to send them to their early graves.

The adverse effects connected with regular contact with radioactive substances are legion, according to researchers across the globe. These killer masts transmit poisonous gases that impair the immune system and human neurological functions.

Frequent and close contacts with them could hamper memory and sleep patterns, cause brain tumours, cancers and Alzheimer's disease. The radiation impact on fertility and metabolism can cause depression and fatigue, according to a recent research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Other diseases like leukemia, cancer, depression, lymphoma, eurtropenia, lymphocytosis and platelet result from hoisting telecoms masts within 10 metres radius to human habitation. It is further compounded by environmental risks. Houses located close to these masts also experience daily cracks due to vibration from the generating plants that power the system.

We insist that regulatory agencies should protect Nigerians by ensuring that erring companies are heavily sanctioned and forced to compensate people harmed by the callous activities of erecting masts at the wrong places.
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Source: All Africa, 19 Apr 2012

How radiation can cause cancer
Nigeria Created: 25 Jan 2011
Human beings are prone to many dangers - Among them is radiation. There are various types of radiation. Virtually, all of them are capable of causing cancer. For example, microwave ovens can cause cancer when man is exposed to it.

According to a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Medical Physicist, Department of Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), Idi-Araba, Lagos, Dr Moses Aweda, "Our recent study shows that microwave radiation produces more than heat. The effect of microwave radiation with the matter that it is made of, for use in domestic microwave oven is for heating effect, but our recent study shows that microwave radiation produces more than heating effect.

Interaction is the baseline. For instance, in what we call polar molecule such as water, when it interacts with microwave radiation it produces hydrolysis. That is, breaking down or decomposition of water. The result of this is the production of some radicals. Radicals are chemical species that are very reactive. Examples of such radicals are electron, hydroxyl radical, perorxl radical and super – orxyl radical.

"These products are very toxic to living cells and they can cause damage modification or mutation of vital components of the cell called the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA as a molecule is complex, a giant molecule in the cell. It is found in the nucleic of the cell. The molecule is responsible for the survival of the cell and also for replication. And so when they are apart by this molecular specie, the radical, they can cause a mutation or modification and modification of DNA by consequence, denatured its cell. That is, it changes the nature of its cell, i.e., certain component of the cell.

"Talking about the cell phones, the type of radiation used for the cell phone, are called radio waves, but part of this radio wave overlaps with microwave. So, as a result of that, it means that the radiation from the cell phone also has the potential of causing cancer. And, of cause, another type of radiation is from the transmitting antenna for telecommunications especially GSM. For radio and television antenna the frequency is a little bit lower, but they can cause cancer."

The Consultant Medical Physicist said there had been some instances of people dwelling close to transmitting stations complaining of health hazards. "Some complain of pains, headaches and general weakness and anaemia. Before now, those who argue that this radiation does not produce hazardous effect are saying so because of their ignorance. Now what is known to be associated to this radiation is the heating effect, the ability to generate heat whenever they interact with biology tissues. Our research for the past few years, that is, five to six years have demonstrated that this radiation produces more than heating effect. So, the ability to cause cancer is as a result of the radical that is generated, when someone is exposed to radiation.

"But coming back to the example of microwave oven radiation, we are not directly exposed to it, so the problem really lied in what is consumed. For food which was prepared by microwave radiation, eaters are likely to consume these radicals generated during the cooking. I am not aware of the studies that have been done to quantify the production of these radicals in food, but if they are produced in experimental animals as we observed, surely they will also be produced in food that contains water or any other polar molecule. So, that is the danger associated with microwave oven and microwave radiation generally," said Aweda.

How did the study start? The senior lecturer explained: "It was done with one of my PhD students. Actually, we were to work on another type of radiation but we had some technical problems and we had to change to microwave radiation. The PhD student was to study the effecst and he got some animals to study. We started from scratch. He exposed the animals to microwave radiation. The attempt was to expose them to some amount of radiation and see what quantity will be sufficient to produce measurable effect in the animals.

"As soon as he did that, he had an emergency call and had to travel to Bayelsa State and gave money to the messenger at the department to buy food and water which were given to the animals. They were kept in a room and at about three weeks later, after I had finished giving lecture and was about to wash my hands in the room where the animals were kept, I observed the animals and they have all come down with cancer. They were already losing hair and you could see directly that they had developed cancer. Five days later they died of tumour strangulation. They were strangled by tumour growth. So, since then I have been interested in the final details which is the refined study, and that was the time the GSM was coming to the country. So that gave me that keen interest to make a closer study.

"When the student came back, he could not remember that radiation again. I tasked him. He conducted his research work, and knew it was from it that he discovered that the radiation produced more than heating effect. So, we measure some medical parameters, especially those chemicals that I have mentioned and then we confirmed they were really there. Indeed, we made attempts to further confirm, if radicals produce among other things stress, weakness etc, we tried as part of the experiment, to introduce vitamins, alsacophorun and ascorbic acid. Those vitamins, E and C, which are vitamins that scavenge, that negate the effects of these radicals. And so we found a clear difference in the animals exposed to the radiation administered with vitamins and those that were not administered with vitamins. That confirmed to us truly that, just as other chemical analyses discovered that these chemical tissues were produced, the administration of vitamins bring down concentration."

He went on: "Some four years ago, I had another PhD student from another university who wanted to work with me and we decided to continue our study in that area. What we did, was with the background story I gave earlier. The radiation causes tumour in animals. We wanted to do a fine study. We know that radiation coming from GSM is usually very low, but low, yes, how low? How do we define low? Are they low to the extent of not being able to produce health hazards. So, we embarked on another research and we decided to go very low in the quantity of radiation we administered on animals because when you want to determine how much is sufficient, you have to study a wide range of the amount of radiation. The quantity of the radiation we expected at Specific Absorption Ratio (SAR) is value lower than the regulated values by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

"Some of the results of the research are already published in local and international journals. The first phase of the study was to see whether it will affect the behavior and we found that the exposure to this radiation affected the behaviour in animals. They became more fearful. The paper that came out from that was entitled: Anxiolytic and explorative behavioural effects of exposure to microwave radiation. The second thing we did was to study effects on reproductive system, and we found that it also affects the reproductive system negatively. So, it affects the sperm count in male, it affects motility and mobility of sperm cell. The third aspect of the study was histopathological. That is, it affects the tissues because it modifies the structure of the tissues. What is more related is to our focus, which is cancer, is that we studied the effect on the relevant component of the cell. That is on the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that I mentioned and other important components of the cell.

"Here we do not have the facilities for the study. But fortunately, while we were contemplating on how to get it done, the student carrying out the research had a scholarship for three years, but eventually one year was used out of the three because we had gone far in the study. Now the laboratory to host the candidate abroad complained that they do not have our kind of animal for the study. So, what we did was to expose the animal and then extract the DNA under a suitable condition and it was transported. And on getting there, the professor over there was entertaining fear on what we said we were doing. He doubted whether we were not wasting our time because the value we used was very low. Now it happened that the interaction leading to the radicals I mentioned earlier are associated with x-ray and gamma ray, both are alike except that they are of different origin. They behave and interact the same way. They have the same effect when they have the same energy. So, nobody would ever think that microwave radiation would produce. So, it was a surprise to us. By the time the student conducted the research work, study the DNA over there, we got the result. The professor was so surprised that we could get such a result.

"So, to my amazement too, micro wave’s radiation of as low as 0.48 milli watts per centimetre square (SAR) was able to produce such a damage to DNA. The damage to the DNA is a confirmation that it can produce cancer, but then the question is, in man for how long? What date after exposure to observe it is cancerous? These are the questions that I cannot answer, but I know it depends on how much of radiation someone has taken, but after it was taken, how would take to the experience is what I may not be able to say and that may vary from one person to another."

And for the health conscious person, how does one avoid being victim?

Dr Aweda answered: "The way forward is to be mindful or conscious of these facts that I have mentioned. The most popular out of radiation generating devices is the hand set. We should be conscious of this, though we cannot advocate that people do away with it, because it is of vital economic value/ importance. It is life-saving and is very fast and interesting. It prevents a lot of time wasting.

It is an effective way of communication. But then associated with this is the problem with the radiation emanating from it. So the advice that I will give is that we spend minimum possible time on phone and if it is possible make more use of SMS (text). And if we use it often, like those doing business, they should make use of hands free devices. For those who are still within the age of reproduction, they should make effort to keep it away from the groins. That is, the reproductive system (waist line area).

"Again, the microwave oven is interesting because it is a fast method of cooking or warming edibles, especially in developed or metropolitan cities with busy people, who will go to work early in the morning, come back late in the night. Now we need to be conscious of this and probably limit the quantity of food we consume prepared using microwave. I have no statistical figure, concerning this because to my knowledge no study had been carried out on using microwave oven. Most people who use microwave ovens are ignorant of this fact. But they need to be courteous henceforth.

"As for radiation coming from the mast, we have existing regulation. But people are not keeping to it. I think they need to be aware of that. Some of this telecommunications companies go from place to place erecting their masts and giving some money to the landlords. The Level of poverty in the country is one major factor why this is common. The landlords are ignorant of the consequences of the radiation on them. Our people should be aware of this and resist the temptation to allow the telecommunication companies to erect masts close to their residential areas and areas where people stay for long. The government should enforce the existing regulations. It should be very strict in its enforcement."
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Source: The Nation, WALE ADEPOJU, 25 Jan 2011

Mobile-phone Basestation radiation causes sperm cell damage in mice
Nigeria Created: 12 Oct 2009
Preliminary Study on the Induction of Sperm Head Abnormalities in Mice, Mus musculus, Exposed to Radiofrequency Radiations from Global System for Mobile Communication Base Stations.

Otitoloju AA, Obe IA, Adewale OA, Otubanjo OA, Osunkalu VO.

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria, bayotitoloju [-at-] yahoo.com.

The exposure of male mice to radiofrequency radiations from mobile phone (GSM) base stations at a workplace complex and residential quarters caused 39.78 and 46.03%, respectively, in sperm head abnormalities compared to 2.13% in control group. Statistical analysis of sperm head abnormality score showed that there was a significant (p < 0.05) difference in occurrence of sperm head abnormalities in test animals. The major abnormalities observed were knobbed hook, pin-head and banana-shaped sperm head. The occurrence of the sperm head abnormalities was also found to be dose dependent. The implications of the observed increase occurrence of sperm head abnormalities on the reproductive health of humans living in close proximity to GSM base stations were discussed.

Related news:
Aug 2009, Israel: Study: Cellphones damage sperm cells
Aug 2009, India: 25% city couples infertile
Aug 2009, Australia: Keep That Phone Out of Your Trouser Pocket!
Apr 2008, USA: Study raises questions about cell phones and infertility
Sep 2007, Poland: Lack of offspring is a phenomenon concerning 15% of married couples in Poland
Jul 2007, USA: Effects of cellular phone emissions on sperm motility in rats
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Source: Pubmed, 09 Oct 2009

Mobile phone mast allergy increases...as NCC allays fears over dangers
Nigeria Created: 4 May 2009
EVEN as the number of Nigerians who have the allergy that mobile phone masts trigger have many health symptoms including anxiety, nausea and tiredness, among other health hazards continue to increase by the day, the Executive Vice Chairman of the telecoms regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Engr Ernest Ndukwe has allayed fears, saying that mobile phone masts are not responsible for the symptoms of ill health some blame them for.

Although it is unclear how many people in Nigeria suffer from “electro_sensitivity”, an allergy they believe can be triggered by a range of modern day appliances from hair driers to mobile phone masts,
the NCC boss who spoke at the last month edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament held last week in Lagos, assured the capacity audience in attendance that mobile phone masts do not pose the kind of danger that people think, adding that caution should be the watch word.

“But the higher the telecom mast, the less harmful they will be. Those structures do not radiate. If they are properly done to specification, they do not pose any danger.
“With base station in an estate, users in that area will have more signals but when they are located very far from where people live, there will be less signals. No case has been reported. But NCC is working and researching with appropriate authorities and once there are findings, we will publish it for the people’s consumption” Ndukwe explained

Even though the Environmental Health Perspectives study on mobile phone mast dangers, according to media reports stressed people were nonetheless suffering real symptoms, just recently, one Mr. Omobolaji Fasuyi, an Ibadan based banker, has complained of danger to his life and his family over an MTN GSM mast erected beside his house which is about to collapse on his building.

The complainant who resides at 6, Olanrewaju Street , Alakia Isebo, Ibadan , Oyo state, noted that shortly after MTN Nigeria erected the massive mast close to his house, the mast started tilting towards his house right from the foundation, with clear evidence that it may collapse anytime if there is heavy rain or wind storm.
Fasuyi informed that he has made several calls at the MTN Ibadan office to no avail after which he decided to petition the telecoms regulator, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for possible action.
Even with a recent visit by officials of NCC to inspect the site, he said that nothing tangible has been done but rather, was asked to report to the Abuja office.

In a telephone interview, he said “MTN started the construction of a mast beside my house sometimes in December, 2008, I have reported to NCC. Eventually, they completed the mast in January, 2009, it wasn’t until then they showed up. However, no concrete action has been taken so far, now the mast is about falling apart and collapsing as evidenced by the attached pictures, the mast is uprooting from the foundation”.

“Besides the fear of sudden collapse, there is also the health hazards attached to GSM mast located closely to residential areas. Of recent, fears have been expressed in Nigeria about the safety or otherwise of citing of telecoms base stations and telecoms masts in residential areas especially with reports of alleged development of cancer amongst some residents in the United Kingdom .“I am a family man. My life and the life of my family is in jeopardy with the uprooting mast, more so now that the rain has started”, he said.

With this development, he called on NCC, telecoms stakeholders and other meaningful Nigerians to appeal to MTN to act quickly on the issue, adding that the mast may collapses with an adverse effect on his building which will as well affect the entire family.
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Source: Vanguard, Emeka Aginam, 04 May 2009

Nigerians ignore hazard of cell phone use
Nigeria Created: 19 Apr 2008
In less than 10 years, the mobile or cell phone has gone from being a rare, expensive, status symbol of the Nigerian business elite to a pervasive, low-cost personal item of the average man on the street. When it comes to issues of service and application ubiquity, low cost data delivery, and a high degree of personalization and synchronization between various user appliances, there are few appliances that can match the versatility of the mobile phone.

But since introduction, concerns have been raised about the potential health impacts from regular use of the mobile phone. Health authorities have run continuous long-term studies of effects of mobile phone radiation effects to humans, and in particular children and have been hard pressed to establish significant relationship between mobile phone use and health. There is currently limited evidence, but cell phones have been claimed to cause cancer, especially cancer of the brain. Only recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found a borderline statistically significant link between tumour frequency on the same side of the head as the mobile phone was used on and mobile phone usage.

There have also been established links between cellphones and sperm quality by the International Union against Cancer (IUCC). A 2007 study published in “Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS) Online” reported higher incidence of headache and also disturbance of normal sleep patterns following mobile phone use.

Earlier this year, an independent but state-funded French health watchdog, advised that parents should not give small children mobile phones. Numerous other studies show that mobile phones carried in pockets of pants and/or worn on belts could result in loss of quantity and quality of active sperm cells by men.

Saturday Vanguard’s crew of Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna went out in attempt to assess how much mobile phone users in the country are compromising their health as a result of their cellular telephone habits (including frequency of use and duration of calls). Considering that cell phones have only been widely available nationwide for a relatively short period of time (since the 1990s), and that cellular technology continues to change, they conclude that overall, research has not consistently demonstrated a link between cellular telephone use and cancer or any other adverse health effect.

There have been established link between cellphones and sperm quality which shows that heavy mobile phone users (over four hours per day) have significantly less viable sperm. This is corroborated by a prospective study of normal men who found that significantly increasing their mobile phone use (over six hours each day for five days) caused a marked short-term reduction of sperm quality.

The bottom line is that men, who use mobile phones on a regular basis are believed to lose about 30 per cent of their active sperm cells. Persons who carry their mobile phones in pockets of their pants are putting their potency at great danger. Scientists say that even in sleep mode, the mobile phone is as harmful as when switched on.

There is currently limited evidence, but cell phones have been claimed to cause cancer, especially cancer of the brain. Saturday Vanguard is privy to a Danish study in which the possible association between use of cellular telephones and development of a type of brain cancer called Acoustic neuroma.

The study carried out between 2000 and 2002, produced data with information on use of cellular telephones from personal interviews, data from medical records, and the results of radiologic examinations. From the study, it was discovered that while overall estimated relative risk from cell phone use for 10 years or more did not increase acoustic neuroma risk over that of short-term users, there is cause for caution. Furthermore, it was shown that tumours did not occur more frequently on the side of the head on which the telephone was typically used, and that the size of the tumour did not correlate with the pattern of cell phone use.

The results of the prospective, population-based, nationwide study, which included a large number of long-term users of cellular telephones, do not completely exonerate cell phone use and risk of development of acoustic neuroma. There are concerns because hand-held cell phones are used close to the head, that the radiofrequency energy produced by the devices may affect the brain and nervous system tissue in the head. Research have focused on whether radiofrequency energy can cause malignant cancer.

Widespread use of cellular telephones has heightened concerns about possible adverse health effects. Previously, cellular telephone use was not associated with increased risk for brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, salivary gland tumours, eye tumours, or leukaemias and there was no trend with time since first subscription. Worldwide use of cellular telephones has raised concerns about possible adverse health effects.

The reasons for these fears are obvious. A telecommunications expert told Saturday Vanguard that during operation, the antenna of a cellular telephone emits powerful radio frequency electromagnetic fields that can penetrate 4-6 cm into the human brain when the device is held close to the ear. He noted that in view of the localized nature of exposure during cellular telephone use, research has usually focused on tumours of the head and neck, particularly brain tumours, salivary gland tumors and other melanomas.

Essentially, to date, overall epidemiologic evidence has not suggested increased risk for any tumour among cellular telephone users with less than approximately 10 years of use. Most studies have not found a statistically significant overall association with the risk of brain tumours for use of 10 or more years except for about a handful for which methodologic issues have been raised. In Nigeria where cell phones were introduced relatively recently, there are comparatively few persons who have used cell phones for 10 or more years.

Handheld mobile phones were officially introduced into Nigeria around 2000 unlike in Europe where many the devices have held sway since the mid 1980s. This makes the average Nigerian population unsuitable for a study aimed at testing the hypothesis that long-term mobile phone use increases the risk of brain tumors. Comparatively, population-based case-control studies in Denmark, Sweden and Finland show those cases of malignant parotid gland tumours are regularly diagnosed amongst regular mobile phone use, regardless of duration. Similar results were found for more than 10 years’ duration of mobile phone use.

The risk estimate did not increase, regardless of type of phone and amount of use, making researchers to conclude that the increased standardized incidence ratio for cervical cancer among cellular telephone users is often difficult to interpret. There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cellular telephones (“wireless” or “mobile” telephones) may cause certain types of cancer. One is that they emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, a form of radiation cancer, which is under investigation for its effects on the human body. In Nigeria, cellular telephone technology is relatively new and there are no long-term studies of the effects of RF energy from cellular telephones on the human body.

The number of cellular telephone users is increasing rapidly. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there are now at least eight million active subscribers to cellular telephone services in the country. This is an increase from a few hundred thousand users just seven years ago. There are estimations that by 2010, there will be about 60 million subscribers in Nigeria and at least 3.5 billion cell phone users worldwide. For these and other less obvious reasons, it is important to learn whether radiofrequency energy affects human health, and to provide reassurance if it does not. Radiofrequency energy, also called radio waves, is a form of electromagnetic radiation that can be ionizing (high-frequency) or non-ionizing (low-frequency).

Experts told Saturday Vanguard that radiofrequency energy is a non-ionizing (low-frequency) type of electromagnetic radiation. It is known that ionizing radiation, such as that produced by x-ray machines, can present a health risk at high levels of exposure. However, it is not yet known whether non-ionizing radiation poses a cancer risk. The most important use of radiofrequency energy is for telecommunications. In Nigeria, cell phones operate in a frequency ranging from about 1,800 to 2,200 megahertz (MHz) - a range in which radiation produced is in the form of non-ionizing radiofrequency energy as compared to electrical appliances like AM/FM radio and VHF/UHF television sets. Essentially, radiofrequency energy produces heat, which can increase body temperature and damage those parts exposed to it. It is generally agreed that the amount of radiofrequency energy encountered by the general public is too low to produce significant tissue heating or an increase in body temperature. However, it is also agreed that further research is needed to determine what effects, if any, low-level non-ionizing RF energy has on the body and whether it is dangerous to people.

But it is argued that intensity of radiofrequency energy emitted by cellular telephones depends on the level of the signal sent to or from the nearest base station. A geographic area serviced by a base unit is often referred to as a “cell ” which is why these devices are called “cellular” telephones or “cell” phones. When a call is placed from a cellular telephone, a signal is sent from the antenna of the phone to the nearest base station antenna.

The base station routes the call through a switching center, where the call can be transferred to another cellular telephone, another base station, or to the local land-line telephone system. The farther a cellular telephone is from the base station antenna, the higher the power level needed to maintain the connection. This distance, in part, determines the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure to the user.

Findings show that a cell phone user’s level of exposure to radiofrequency energy depends on several factors. These include the number and duration of calls, the amount of cellular telephone traffic at a given time, the distance from the nearest cellular base station (a low-powered radio transmitter that communicates with a user’s cell phone), the quality of the transmission, how far the antenna is extended, and the size of the handset. Essentially, a cell phone’s main source of radiofrequency energy is its antenna. The antenna of the hand-held cellular telephones is in the handset, which is typically held against the side of the head while the telephone is in use.

The closer the antenna is to the head, the greater a people expected exposure to radiofrequency energy. The amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed decreases rapidly with increasing distance between the antenna and the user. Experts say hands-free kits are a relatively recent feature that can be used with cell phones for convenience and comfort. These systems reduce the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure to the head because the phone, which is the source of radiofrequency energy, is not placed against the head. However, most studies conducted on cell phone use and cancer risk have focused on hand-held models not equipped with hands-free systems, since they deliver the most radiofrequency energy to the user.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that many studies have already been done, and research is ongoing. Many of these studies found that the use of hand-held cellular telephones is unrelated to the risk of brain cancer, but stress that additional studies covering longer periods of cellular telephone are desirable. Other results showed no evidence of increasing risk with increasing years of use, or average minutes of use per day and that brain tumours did not occur more often than expected on the side of the head on which participants reported using their phone. There have been series of allegations about the potential health hazards of cell phones and other types of hand-held transceivers in causing cancer. In addition, there have also been numerous objections to siting of TV, radio and cell phone transmission facilities because of a fear of cancer induction.

Saturday Vanguard is privy to research studies suggesting that exposure to radiofrequency radiation increases cancer (lymphoma) incidence in laboratory animals. It is evidences like this that contribute to the controversy. On the whole, event though concensus is that epidermiological evidence for an association between radiofrequency radiation and cancer has been found to be weak and inconsistent, it remains an important fact that cell phone radiation should not be taken for granted.

How cell phones are used in Nigeria
Today almost every Nigerian accosted on the street is part of a wireless, mobile population that participates in digital activities either at home or work. Persons of all ages are attuned to this kind of access. For the average urban-based Nigerian, the cell phone has become an integral and essential one-stop communications device. In this environment, people consider their cell phones part of their identity. Nigerians are quick to testify the advantages of the cell phone. They readily point out how owning a cell phone, apart from enabling voice/video calls and “texting”, puts at their fingertips almost unlimited access to radio, photography, internet, video, TV and other ancilliary services in the fold of the third generation (3G) deployment.

The cell phone holds promise as the must-have low cost, high speed data device driving forward the fourth generation (4G) initiative as short-range communication emerges and takes foothold as networks evolve from a centralized architecture to a distributed one. It is clear the cell phone is a useful device with non-voice data applications most owners are yet to get used to. The cell phone is helping their owners gain help in emergencies. There are more than a few mobile phone users who have used their hand-held device in an emergency and gained valuable help for themselves or others. Nigerians are quick to testify the advantages of the cell phone.

They readily point out how owning a cell phone, apart from enabling voice/video calls and “texting”, puts at their fingertips almost unlimited access to radio, photography, internet, video, TV and other ancilliary services in the fold of the third generation (3G) deployment. They note that in the nearest future, a cell phone holds promise as the must-have low cost, high speed data device driving forward the fourth generation (4G) initiative as short-range communication emerging and taking foothold as networks evolve from a centralized architecture to a distributed one. It is clear the cell phone is a useful device with non-voice data applications most owners are yet to get used to. The cell phone is helping their owners gain help in emergencies. There are more than a few mobile phone users who have used their hand-held device in an emergency and gained valuable help for themselves or others.

Do Nigerians worship their cell phones?

It would not be wrong to admit this as fact. Nigerians love cell phones. They love acquiring them and love showing them off. Whether it is the cheap low-end type or the very expensive high-end smart phone, the cell phone is an essential part of daily life— more or less a life-saver. Many persons acknowledge that being without a cell phone is almost unthinkable. Here, no one parts easily with their cell phone; no self-respecting Nigerian leaves home without his or her cell phone.

There are those who never go to bed or eat or read or watch TV or do virtually anything without their cell phones by their side. There are persons who have a habit of visiting the lavatory with their phones in their pockets. A few swear they cannot take a bath without their phones within easy reach even while they are in the shower. A striking impact of mobile technology is that Nigerians are using their cell phones to shift the way they spend their time. Some owners say they fill in their free time when they are traveling or waiting for someone by making phone calls, sending SMS or playing games. There are those who wait to make most of their cell calls for the hours when they do not count against their “anytime” minutes in their basic calling plan.

But there are challenges associated with cell phone use. A sizable proportion of cell phone owners do not drive as safely as they should while using their mobile devices. Men are more likely than women to admit this. There are those who are regularly irritated at least occasionally by the loud and annoying cell users who conduct their calls in public places. Indeed, one in 10 cell phone owners admit they have drawn criticism or irritated stares from others when they are using their cell phones in public. For some, the cell phone has become so central to their communications needs that they lose track of the expenses associated with their phones.

About a third of cell owners claim they are not bothered by the size of their phone bills. A few spoke their mind: “You know this is my private business. I don’t want to talk about it. On the average, more than 50 people make calls here. Sometimes if your lucky, they may be more than that but on a bad days like that the number may drop to 30. For the period they talk, it depends on individuals. Some may not want to talk much but the least most times is three minutes but I have one particular guy that cannot talk less than 30 to 40 minutes.”--Uchenna Azudiabia - Phone booth operator

“Aunty, I cannot do without phoning my friends and family members. But the rumour that mobile phones can cause cancer is not yet clear. There is no convincing scientific evidence that the use of mobile phones can cause brain tumours or other cancers in humans. You see, people like me cannot do without making night calls. Most times I spend very long time on phones. Some times I call from 12: 30 midnight to 4 a.m. This is mostly because it is free and one can discuss whatever problems with ones friend or family members freely without checking the time one have spent.

Again, for the fact that people say it affects this or that does not mean you should believe them or stop using GSM. What I can say is that as far as Obasanjo’s government found it necessary to at least introduced GSM in Nigeria, I am happy because I can now talk to my parents any time I choose unlike those days you will first of go to NITEL office or buy phone cards that will never get through. My dear, for me it is all phoning. But if it has any health impact, the authorities should have known before bringing it into the country. Any way let us still wait since it is not yet happening in Nigeria.”
--Ebuka Agbachi, businessman

“Since the advent of GSM, era of no tone has become a thing of the past. We no longer queue at NITEL offices, waiting to make both local and internationals calls. But the Federal Government decided to ease the problem by bringing GSM closer to even the poor. So the stories that this and that is affecting human health should not just arise. You see most of our young youths will not even take it lightly with your rumours. Pls don’t let me burst into tears. GSM has come and it has come to stay.”
--Bola Adeoye, student

“In fact, the issue of GSM is very useful, at least, it helps to get in touch with people one has seen for along time even if you don’t see them regularly. Also, it is now easier to get contact in terms of business. However, it becomes a liability on some people to buy recharge cards regularly as if you don’t recharge, you will not be able to make calls. Also, it has opened one’s life to robbers because immediately they attack you, the first thing they ask for is your hand set, not minding whether you use the expensive one or not. In most cases, you see a lot of people going into 419 or dupe others in order to buy expensive hand sets. So, in as much as it is useful in terms of making calls, it has exposed a lot of people to robbery attack.”
-- Dominon Ukpai, entrepreneur

What you should know about mobile phone (GSM)
Maintaining the highest standards of health and safety for GSM technology is a global issue that the GSM operators must consider addressing as a priority in partnership with government, consumer and industry stakeholders. Critical observers believes that the provision of clear and independent answers based on sound scientific research will ensure that mobile communications continue to work for the social and economic benefit of all.

What are the health risks?
Independent scientific institutions around the world review relevant research as it is published. The consensus of these expert groups is that there is no demonstrable evidence of a risk to human health from mobile phone use.
I live close to a base station. Am I at risk?

Where members of the public have access to the area around a base station the radio signal levels are typically much lower than even the most stringent internationally adopted safety guidelines. It is only in areas close to the antennas that the recommended limits may be exceeded. The network operator will take steps to prevent public access to these areas by placing the antennas near the top of the mast or high on a building. GSM base stations operate with low radio signal powers to reduce interference to nearby sites that could affect call quality. For the typical GSM base station that is mounted on a building or a pole the typical maximum signal strength in publicly accessible areas will be less than 1 per cent of most national RF exposure standards. In many cases, the GSM signal strength will be comparable to existing broadcast radio and TV services.

Can someone with hearing aid use a mobile phone?
Most new models of hearing aids are immune to radio frequency interference from GSM phones that are more than two metres away. Some are also immune to interference when the phone is brought up to the same ear as the hearing aid. The result depends on the level of immunity designed into the hearing aid, the nature of the hearing loss and the type of mobile phone.

Why is mobile phones usage restricted in hospitals?
At short range, the radio signal from a mobile phone may cause interference with electronic medical devices. At distances greater than 2m the possibility is substantially reduced. It is possible for mobile phones to be used in designated areas of hospitals. However, you should obey any warning signs and the instructions of hospital staff. If you use electrical medical equipment in your home, we recommend that you seek the advice of your doctor or equipment supplier.

Will a pacemaker be affected by the signal from a mobile phone?
Brands and models of cardiac pacemakers exhibit a wide range of immunity levels to GSM and other types of radio signals. Therefore, people who wear cardiac pacemakers and who want to use a GSM phone should seek the advice of their cardiologist. If, as a pacemaker user, you are still concerned about interaction with mobile phones, it has been suggested by national health authorities that you maintain a 15 cm (6 inch) separation between the phone and your pacemaker; do not hold your phone to your chest. E.g. don’t carry the phone in a breast pocket; refer to your pacemaker product literature for information on your particular device; and refer to your phone product literature for the technical parameters of your phone.

Why can’t I use my mobile phone when flying?
It is standard practice on aircraft to turn off all types of radio transmitters and certain other electrical devices unless they have been demonstrated not to cause interference to aircraft systems. One current concern is that when airborne the radio signals from mobile phones could travel for hundreds of kilometers, which could interfere with the operation of ground based mobile networks. Obey airline instructions regarding the use of electronic devices.

What about mobile phone use while driving?
Driving safely is of paramount importance to everyone on today’s busy roads, and mobile phones should be used responsibly while on the move.

Is it true that mobile phones can cause explosions at petrol stations?
There is no established link between radio signals from mobile phones or base stations and petrol station fires. There may be more tangible hazards associated with the distraction of using a mobile phone while operating a petrol pump.

How true is it that a mobile phone can attract lightning?
There is no scientific evidence to indicate that mobile phone use is not safe during lightning. Somebody who is outside increases their risk of being struck if they are on high ground, in an open space, near water or near large metallic structures or trees. If you are outside, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle with the windows completely shut. If this is not possible, you should follow the instructions of responsible safety organizations.

Is it safe for a child to use a mobile phone?
The current World Health Organization view is that international safety guidelines protect everyone in the population with a large safety factor. Mobile phones do provide important safety benefits to children who can use them in times of distress or emergency situations. However, mobile phones are not toys, and parental supervision in the selection and use of mobile communication technologies for children is essential.

How true is it that mobile phones can effect male fertility and sperm quality?
Some preliminary scientific studies have reported a link. However, these studies have generally not properly accounted for lifestyle factors. For example, diet, smoking, etc. The consensus view of expert public health bodies, including the WHO, is that there are no adverse health effects associated with the radio signals used by mobile phones or base stations.

Can long term use of a mobile phone affect hearing?
There have been some preliminary research reports suggesting a link between the use of mobile phones and personal stereos and effects on hearing. However, these preliminary findings have not yet been confirmed. The risk of hearing loss increases as sound is played louder and for longer durations. Mobile phone users can limit the risk of hearing damage by keeping the handset volume down, avoiding prolonged, continuous listening and making calls away from background noise.
Current WHO advice: Present scientific information does not indicate the need for any special precautions for use of mobile phones.

If individuals are concerned, they might choose to limit their own or their children’s RF exposure by limiting the length of calls, or using “hands-free” devices to keep mobile phones away from the head and body.There have been established link between cellphones and sperm quality which shows that heavy mobile phone users (over four hours per day) have significantly less viable sperm. This is corroborated by a prospective study of normal men who found that significantly increasing their mobile phone use (over six hours each day for five days) caused a marked short-term reduction of sperm quality.

The bottom line is that men, who use mobile phones on a regular basis are believed to lose about 30 per cent of their active sperm cells. Persons who carry their mobile phones in pockets of their pants are putting their potency at great danger. Scientists say that even in sleep mode, the mobile phone is as harmful as when switched on.

There is currently limited evidence, but cell phones have been claimed to cause cancer, especially cancer of the brain. Saturday Vanguard is privy to a Danish study in which the possible association between use of cellular telephones and development of a type of brain cancer called Acoustic neuroma. The study carried out between 2000 and 2002, produced data with information on use of cellular telephones from personal interviews, data from medical records, and the results of radiologic examinations. From the study, it was discovered that while overall estimated relative risk from cell phone use for 10 years or more did not increase acoustic neuroma risk over that of short-term users, there is cause for caution. Furthermore, it was shown that tumours did not occur more frequently on the side of the head on which the telephone was typically used, and that the size of the tumour did not correlate with the pattern of cell phone use.

The results of the prospective, population-based, nationwide study, which included a large number of long-term users of cellular telephones, do not completely exonerate cell phone use and risk of development of acoustic neuroma. There are concerns because hand-held cell phones are used close to the head, that the radiofrequency energy produced by the devices may affect the brain and nervous system tissue in the head. Research have focused on whether radiofrequency energy can cause malignant cancer.

Widespread use of cellular telephones has heightened concerns about possible adverse health effects. Previously, cellular telephone use was not associated with increased risk for brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, salivary gland tumours, eye tumours, or leukaemias and there was no trend with time since first subscription. Worldwide use of cellular telephones has raised concerns about possible adverse health effects. The reasons for these fears are obvious. A telecommunications expert told Saturday Vanguard that during operation, the antenna of a cellular telephone emits powerful radio frequency electromagnetic fields that can penetrate 4-6 cm into the human brain when the device is held close to the ear. He noted that in view of the localized nature of exposure during cellular telephone use, research has usually focused on tumours of the head and neck, particularly brain tumours, salivary gland tumors and other melanomas.

Essentially, to date, overall epidemiologic evidence has not suggested increased risk for any tumour among cellular telephone users with less than approximately 10 years of use. Most studies have not found a statistically significant overall association with the risk of brain tumours for use of 10 or more years except for about a handful for which methodologic issues have been raised. In Nigeria where cell phones were introduced relatively recently, there are comparatively few persons who have used cell phones for 10 or more years.

Handheld mobile phones were officially introduced into Nigeria around 2000 unlike in Europe where many the devices have held sway since the mid 1980s. This makes the average Nigerian population unsuitable for a study aimed at testing the hypothesis that long-term mobile phone use increases the risk of brain tumors. Comparatively, population-based case-control studies in Denmark, Sweden and Finland show those cases of malignant parotid gland tumours are regularly diagnosed amongst regular mobile phone use, regardless of duration. Similar results were found for more than 10 years’ duration of mobile phone use.

The risk estimate did not increase, regardless of type of phone and amount of use, making researchers to conclude that the increased standardized incidence ratio for cervical cancer among cellular telephone users is often difficult to interpret. There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cellular telephones (“wireless” or “mobile” telephones) may cause certain types of cancer. One is that they emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, a form of radiation cancer, which is under investigation for its effects on the human body. In Nigeria, cellular telephone technology is relatively new and there are no long-term studies of the effects of RF energy from cellular telephones on the human body.

The number of cellular telephone users is increasing rapidly. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there are now at least eight million active subscribers to cellular telephone services in the country. This is an increase from a few hundred thousand users just seven years ago. There are estimations that by 2010, there will be about 60 million subscribers in Nigeria and at least 3.5 billion cell phone users worldwide. For these and other less obvious reasons, it is important to learn whether radiofrequency energy affects human health, and to provide reassurance if it does not. Radiofrequency energy, also called radio waves, is a form of electromagnetic radiation that can be ionizing (high-frequency) or non-ionizing (low-frequency).

Experts told Saturday Vanguard that radiofrequency energy is a non-ionizing (low-frequency) type of electromagnetic radiation. It is known that ionizing radiation, such as that produced by x-ray machines, can present a health risk at high levels of exposure. However, it is not yet known whether non-ionizing radiation poses a cancer risk. The most important use of radiofrequency energy is for telecommunications.

In Nigeria, cell phones operate in a frequency ranging from about 1,800 to 2,200 megahertz (MHz) - a range in which radiation produced is in the form of non-ionizing radiofrequency energy as compared to electrical appliances like AM/FM radio and VHF/UHF television sets. Essentially, radiofrequency energy produces heat, which can increase body temperature and damage those parts exposed to it. It is generally agreed that the amount of radiofrequency energy encountered by the general public is too low to produce significant tissue heating or an increase in body temperature. However, it is also agreed that further research is needed to determine what effects, if any, low-level non-ionizing RF energy has on the body and whether it is dangerous to people.

But it is argued that intensity of radiofrequency energy emitted by cellular telephones depends on the level of the signal sent to or from the nearest base station. A geographic area serviced by a base unit is often referred to as a “cell ” which is why these devices are called “cellular” telephones or “cell” phones. When a call is placed from a cellular telephone, a signal is sent from the antenna of the phone to the nearest base station antenna. The base station routes the call through a switching center, where the call can be transferred to another cellular telephone, another base station, or to the local land-line telephone system.

The farther a cellular telephone is from the base station antenna, the higher the power level needed to maintain the connection. This distance, in part, determines the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure to the user.
Findings show that a cell phone user’s level of exposure to radiofrequency energy depends on several factors. These include the number and duration of calls, the amount of cellular telephone traffic at a given time, the distance from the nearest cellular base station (a low-powered radio transmitter that communicates with a user’s cell phone), the quality of the transmission, how far the antenna is extended, and the size of the handset. Essentially, a cell phone’s main source of radiofrequency energy is its antenna. The antenna of the hand-held cellular telephones is in the handset, which is typically held against the side of the head while the telephone is in use.

The closer the antenna is to the head, the greater a people expected exposure to radiofrequency energy. The amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed decreases rapidly with increasing distance between the antenna and the user. Experts say hands-free kits are a relatively recent feature that can be used with cell phones for convenience and comfort. These systems reduce the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure to the head because the phone, which is the source of radiofrequency energy, is not placed against the head. However, most studies conducted on cell phone use and cancer risk have focused on hand-held models not equipped with hands-free systems, since they deliver the most radiofrequency energy to the user.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that many studies have already been done, and research is ongoing. Many of these studies found that the use of hand-held cellular telephones is unrelated to the risk of brain cancer, but stress that additional studies covering longer periods of cellular telephone are desirable. Other results showed no evidence of increasing risk with increasing years of use, or average minutes of use per day and that brain tumours did not occur more often than expected on the side of the head on which participants reported using their phone.

There have been series of allegations about the potential health hazards of cell phones and other types of hand-held transceivers in causing cancer. In addition, there have also been numerous objections to siting of TV, radio and cell phone transmission facilities because of a fear of cancer induction. Saturday Vanguard is privy to research studies suggesting that exposure to radiofrequency radiation increases cancer (lymphoma) incidence in laboratory animals. It is evidences like this that contribute to the controversy. On the whole, event though concensus is that epidermiological evidence for an association between radiofrequency radiation and cancer has been found to be weak and inconsistent, it remains an important fact that cell phone radiation should not be taken for granted.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Vanguard, Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna, 19 Apr 2008

Politics 'stifling $100 laptop' Maybe they just like HEALTHY CHILDREN in Nigeria!!
Nigeria Created: 28 Nov 2007
A lack of "big thinking" by politicians has stifled a scheme to distribute laptops to children in the developing world, a spokesman has said.
Walter Bender of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) said politicians were unwilling to commit because "change equals risk".
But, he said, there needed to be a "dramatic change" because education in many countries was "failing" children.

In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria's education minister questioned the need for laptops in poorly equipped schools.
Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku said: "What is the sense of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don't have seats to sit down and learn; when they don't have uniforms to go to school in, where they don't have facilities?"
"We are more interested in laying a very solid foundation for quality education which will be efficient, effective, accessible and affordable."
The previous government of Nigeria had committed to buying one million laptops.
Dr Aja-Nwachuku said he was now assessing OLPC alongside other schemes from Microsoft and Intel.
"We are asking whether this is the most critical thing to drive education."

There is still a concerted misinformation campaign out there (Me and you folks! keep up the good work! agnes.wwwmast-victims.org)
Walter Bender, OLPC

But speaking separately to BBC News, Professor Bender said: "We think that change has to be dramatic."
"You've got to be big, you've got to be bold. And what has happened is that there has been an effort to say 'don't take any risks - just do something small, something incremental'."
"It feels safe but by definition what you are ensuring is that nothing happens."

Winds of change
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7094695.stm
OLPC was started in 2002 by Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It aims to put thousands of low-cost laptops, known as the XO, in the hands of children around the world.
The machines are planned to cost $100 and have been especially designed for use in remote and harsh environments where there is little access to electricity or the internet.
But getting the project off the ground has proved difficult.
Professor Negroponte has had high profile run-ins with major technology firms.
He told an audience at a Linux event: "if I am annoying Microsoft and Intel then I figure I am doing something right."
Microsoft head Bill Gates had questioned the XOs design, particularly the lack of hard drive and its "tiny screen".
But recently, the firm announced that it was working on a version of Windows XP that would run on the pared down machines.

"We are spending a non-trivial amount of money," Microsoft's Will Poole told Reuters.

The price will come down as the numbers go up. It will take time but it will happen " (How come I understood they were a "CHARITY" org ? (agnes MV)
Walter Bender

Earlier this year, Professor Negroponte also accused Intel of selling its own cut-price laptop - the Classmate - below cost price to drive him out of markets. He said that Intel "should be ashamed of itself" and said its tactics had hurt his mission "enormously".
Within weeks it was announced that Intel had joined the board of OLPC amid speculation that the firm was unhappy about the XO using a processor from its main rival AMD.

'Small thinking'
Although these episodes now appear to be behind OLPC, Professor Bender said there was still an "aggressive" effort to undermine the charity.

"There is still a concerted misinformation campaign out there," he said.
Mr Bender said he would not speculate on who was behind the alleged campaign.
"Wherever it is coming from, it exists," he told BBC News.
But he said the main problem for OLPC was dealing with conservative politicians.
"Change equals risk especially for politicians. And we are certainly advocating change because the [education] system is failing these children," he said.
1. "It has not been that processor versus that processor or that operating system versus that operating system - it's been small thinking versus big thinking. That's really the issue," he said.

Sales target
Originally, the laptops were to be sold to governments in lots of one million for $100 apiece.
Over time, however, the project has dropped the minimum number of machines that can be ordered, leading some to speculate that governments were not buying into the scheme.

The project also recently launched an initiative to allow citizens of North America to buy two machines at a time; one for themselves and one for a child in a developing country.
But Mr Bender said the shift was because of a better understanding of how to distribute smaller numbers cheaply and effectively, rather than a lack of orders.
"Part of it was our understanding of how the supply chain was going to work and having enough flexibility in the supply chain to make it work with a small number," he said.
"The big numbers were really about how you get this thing started not how you make it work in the long term.
"That was always going to be about supporting any good idea that comes along. And we've been able to get it started without the big top down numbers so we are off and running."

Developing tool
Since the scheme was first announced in 2002 there have been reports of several countries signing up to it.
Both Nigeria and Libya were reported to have ordered more than one million laptops.
Other countries including Thailand and Pakistan had also placed orders, according to reports.
But recently, OLPC revealed it had just taken its first order for 100,000 of the machines, placed by the government of Uruguay.
"Uruguay is first then it will be Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia then we are going to be doing stuff in Haiti, Rwanda and Mongolia," said Mr Bender.
In addition, he said, OLPC had done a deal with Birmingham, Alabama, in the US, to provide the laptop for schools in the city.
"The numbers of countries where we have trials set up is also increasing," he said.
Tests were also going on in the Solomon Islands, Nepal and India, a country that had previously shunned the scheme.
The Indian Ministry of Education had previously dismissed the laptop as "pedagogically suspect", whilst the Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee said the country needed "classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools".

Tipping point
The first machines will cost almost double the $100 originally planned.
The high price has been blamed on the increasing cost of the raw materials for the components inside the XO. Each machine currently costs $188.
The laptops have been designed to cope with harsh conditions

"The price will come down as the numbers go up. It will take time but it will happen," said Mr Bender.
The manufacturer of the laptop - Quanta - recently revealed it had started mass production of the machines, after a number of delays.
Previously, OLPC had said it needed three million orders to make production feasible.
Professor Negroponte said it was an important milestone that had been reached despite "all the naysayers".
"We're not turning back - we have passed the point of no return," said Mr Bender. "It is happening."

So, suddenly it is after all about profit, isnt it?? (agnes MV)

By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter, BBC News
Click here to view the source article.
Source: agnes ingvarsdottir. www.mast-victims.org

NCC Tasks Natcoms Seminar Participants On Health Hazards
Nigeria Created: 15 Nov 2007
Opinions were sharply divided on the controversial and debateable issue of radiation health risks associated with the use of mobile phones at a seminar organised at the weekend in Muson Centre, Onikan - Lagos by the National Association of Telecommunications subscribers, NATCOMS.

While the four leading guest speakers were unanimous in their presentation, insisting that the use of mobile phones has radiation health risks associated with it, operators present at the forum posited that there was the basic need to have a fundamental understanding of how a base station generates electromagnetic waves, arguing that GSM operators implement radio frequency (RF) compliance rules necessary to ensure that both the general public and occupational worker are exposed only to safe levels of emission. In this direction, they argued that there is/are no concrete evidence(s) to prove that there are radiation health risks associated with the use of mobile phones even as they enjoined the guest speakers to do more research into their claims.

"With respect to the international commission on non-ionizing radiation protection, (ICNIRP) public exposure guidelines, the World Health Organisation, WHO currently regards the implementation of any additional safety factors on account of perceived health risks as being without scientific basis and therefore undermining the existing status that ICNIRP enjoys world-wide," the operators said. They, however, agreed that if electromagnetic emission levels are sufficiently intense, then radio frequency energy can cause health effects.

Delivering two papers titled: Physical Principles of cell-phones and use of Radiation; and Safety and Protection in the use of cell-phones respectively, Dr. M. A. Aweda, a Research Medical Physicist came hard with facts maintaining that there are indeed radiation health risks associated with use of mobile phones.

In her contribution, director, Consumer Affairs Department, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs. Lolia S. Emakpore, disclosed that the commission has created a department which takes care of the interest of the consumers, adding that the NCC is worried about the issue of cell phones and its health implication.

She therefore, tasked the seminar participants to seek ways of managing the possible health hazards even as she disclosed that although WHO has not actually been able to come up with concrete evidence on the health hazards associated with the use of mobile phone, the NCC top official, however, said that the commission was ready to work with anyone that will join forces with it on how best "we can manage the technology we have on hand."

Earlier in an address, the national president of NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo said the Association was prepared to continuously provide the desired platform for telecoms subscribers to brainstorm on issues that bordered on their health and related matters, adding that NATCOMS, as part of its commitment to present a platform for various stakeholders, corporate bodies, relevant organisations and individuals is also poised to set agenda for government and policy makers on telecommunications as well as strengthen its commitment to educate, inform and enlighten telecoms consumers on consumer protection issues, concerns and rights.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: AllAfrica.com, Peter Ailuorio, 14 Nov 2007

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