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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!
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
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
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Source: agnes ingvarsdottir.

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.
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Source:, Peter Ailuorio, 14 Nov 2007

Government Orders Phone Firms to Dismantle Masts
Nigeria Created: 6 Nov 2007
THE presidency has asked mobile phone providers and other telecommunications outfit to immediately dismantle masts around airports across the country.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Aviation, Capt. Shehu Usman Iyal, at a meeting with the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) and aviation patastatals in Lagos on the recurring arrests of drug suspects at the airports, said the decision was informed by the need to ensure the safety of air passengers.

"The Presidency wants masts removed from airports' area, be it masts installed by MTN, Celtel, Globacom and others because of the need to guarantee the safety of passengers," Capt Iyal said.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has battled telecommunication companies without success over the same issue. On the frequent cases of arrest of drug peddlers at the nation's airports, Capt. Iyal said the development compelled the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to order the constitution of a committee to strengthen security at the airports.

According to him, the committee, which has six weeks to submit its recommendations, is to amongst others, examine clearance procedures of airlines' crew, engineers and even aviation parastatal staff to stem the tide of such calibre of staff exploiting the security situation at the airports.

He said the committee was also mandated to examine the procedure of screening passengers, cargo at airports and make recommendations that are implementable.

Capt. Iyal, who noted that transportation, especially aviation, was one of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's 7-points agenda, lamented the negative effects arrests of drug suspects at airports had done to the nation's image in the past few weeks.

According to him, Nigerian passengers are now being harassed with sniffer dogs at foreign airports.

Iyal solicited the support of airlines operating international flights in the country in government's efforts to tackle the menace, saying the federal government was determined to collaborate with them to check the menace.
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Source:, Kenneth Ehigiator, 06 Nov 2007

Curbing health hazards of telecommunication masts
Nigeria Created: 10 Oct 2007
It has become a part of the environment to see tall masts in different locations around the country. It is also fact that these telecommunication masts carry microwave radiations that aid the flow of wired information. These masts though helpful, have been proven to have negative health effects on people living near where they are erected. The erection of multiple masts clustered in built-up areas is thus hazardous

From epidemiologic research, persons living in places where telecommunication masts are erected are vulnerable to disorders like cancer, lung diseases, sleep disturbances and even physical disabilities.

Hence, we are no longer faced by the question of whether these EMF (Electro-magnetic Frequency) fields cause health problems or not. What is uncertain is just how this ill-health will manifest in an individual; this is determined by the individual’s own constitution and health and may manifest in many ways. Evidence abounds that the EMF ultimately leads to some form of illness and disease in humans. Children, in particular, with their developing immune systems coupled with sick people are more prone to the effects.

In a recent research on the increased incidence of cancer near a cell phone, it was found out that people living within the vicinity of base stations report various complaints not only of the circulatory system, but also of sleep disturbances, irritability, depression, blurred vision, concentration difficulties, nausea, lack of appetite, headache and dizziness.

Studies were carried out to show the relationship between the incidence of individual symptoms, the level of exposure, and the distance between a residential area and a base station. This association was observed in both groups of persons who linked their complaints with the presence of the base station and who did not notice such correlation. The study indicated that there was an association between increased incidence of cancer and living in proximity to a cell- phone transmitter station.

With this in mind, there is certainly need to adopt a precautionary principle and introduce policies of prudent avoidance which to effectively ban the erection of masts from school buildings, residential areas and in other densely populated locations.

In Nigeria where the coverage of mobile phone service operators is increasing everyday, there certainly is urgent need to check indiscriminate erection of telecommunication masts to protect the health of the average Nigerian. The bottom line is that erection of masts in residential areas should be discouraged. This would be a fist step towards ensuring a healthier future.
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Source: Vanguard, Esther T. Olutokun, 10 Oct 2007

Mobile phone mast: Possible cause of cancer, fatigue
Nigeria Created: 21 Sep 2007
Medical experts and telecom operators hold different views on the health implications of mobile phone system and its masts. The possibility of both having long-term adverse effects cannot be ruled out, reports Sade Oguntola.

The killer on the roof top was the way the mobile phone masts in Bristol, United Kingdom (UK), was described after seven clusters of cancer and other serious illnesses were discovered around mobile phone masts in the city, raising concerns over the technology’s potential impact on health.

Studies on the sites showed high incidences of cancer, brain haemorrhages(bleeding) and high blood pressure within a radius of 400 yards of mobile phone masts. One of the studies, in Warwickshire, showed a cluster of 31 cancers around a single street. A quarter of the 30 staff at a special school within sight of the 90ft high mast had developed tumours since 2000, while another quarter had suffered significant health problems.

Dr John Walker, a scientist with the help of local campaigners in Devon, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands compiled some cluster studies on cancer incidences and from the result, was convinced they showed a potential link between the angle of the beam of radiation emitted from the masts’ antennae and illnesses discovered in local populations.

Phone masts have provoked protests throughout Britain with thousands of people objecting each week to planning applications. Meanwhile, many people in Nigeria are not aware of the possibility that phone masts may have negative health implications, when erected near residential areas.

For instance, Mr. Kunle Oguntunde, a teacher resident at Koloko area in Ibadan, said he was not aware if there were any associated problems with such phone masts like the one sited in Koloko area where he resides. Mr. Abdul Babatunde, a student at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, also looked blank when asked if phone masts could affect the health of people in the area where it is sited.

Experts and telecom operators are however divided on the health implications of phone masts and mobile phones. While telecom operators insist that both, under normal circumstances, cannot cause cancer, some medical experts said there is the need for caution because the two are also sources of radiation and any radiation can predispose to cancer and other diseases.

Some scientists believe such a link exists and studies in other European countries suggest a rise in cancers among people living close to masts. For instance, a German study by the German Federal Agency for Radiation Protection by Eger, Hagen, Lucas, Vogel and Voit, examined whether people living within 400 metres of a mobile phone mast in Naila were more at risk of developing cancer than those who lived further away.

Case histories of 1,000 patients were evaluated between 1994 and 2004 and newly diagnosed cancers were significantly higher among those who had lived for 10 years within 400 metres of the masts, in operation since 1993, compared with those living further away. The patients had fallen ill on the average eight years earlier.

The people living within 400 metres of the mast in Naila were found to have had three times the risk of developing cancer than those living further away. This seems to be an undeniable clustering of cancer cases. Dr. Abbas Abdul-Salaam, a consultant radiotherapist and clinical oncologist at the University College Hospital (U.C.H), Ibadan, explained that there are no clear and straight forward evidences that mobile phone masts can cause ill health.

He said: “Phone masts are usually at a very high height from the ground and most of the radiation goes upwards not downwards. Even though this is of no serious scientific significance in terms of health problems, he said there are however several sources of background radiations from radioactive substances from the ground, the sun, etc, that people must be mindful of.

This, however, he said, is not to say that people should not take precautions since its associated long term implications are yet to be known. He added: “Cancer, for example, as a complication of radiation, is not something that occurs two to three years after exposure. It may take up to 20 to 30 years for it to be seen and our exposure to the use of mobile phones throughout the world is less than 20 years and that is not enough to decide conclusively that there is no long term health risks associated with radiations from mobile phone masts.

“So, there is always the need to take adequate precautions. For instance, mast stations must ensure they meet regulated heights. Where mobile phone masts base stations have transmitting surfaces that are placed such that people can have easy access to them in living quarters, people need to avoid close and prolonged contact with such areas.

Other precautions to take according to him include:

• Do not stay too long talking on the mobile phone.

• Use regulated phones from established and known manufacturers that have low specific absorption ratio. The specific absorption ratio indicates the level of risk of radiation an individual is exposed to and the higher its value, the more the risk of radiation exposure.

• Use your cell phones hands free if possible.
Given that there are radiations everywhere, he advised that individuals should reduce there exposure to radiation to a level as low as possible because radiation exposures are linked to virtually all cancers, especially those affecting the skin, blood and lymph nodes, and minor problems like fatigue and tiredness.

In the opinion of another medical expert at the Department of Chemical Pathology of UCH, Dr. Bayo Akinosun, radiation from high-tension electricity wire should give an individual more concern than that from a single phone mast sited in a residential area.

However, a cluster of phone masts will make for concentration of radiation in that area, thus increasing the chances of the people in the area taking in more doses of radiation. According to him, the “idea of having phone masts in people’s home is not good, especially for children, pregnant women and women of child bearing ages since they are more exposed to radiations.

A situation where everybody now lives in a world of radiation from cell phones, electricity cables, electrical appliances like television and so on, requires people to be careful of what they eat as well. When nutritional intake are deficient of antioxidants such as vitamins A,C and E , due to poverty or wrong choice of foods, such individuals may be worse off when exposed to any radiation, he said.
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Source: Nigerian Tribune, 21 Sep 2007

Are Base Stations Dangerous to Health?
Nigeria Created: 13 Sep 2007
Lagos - 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. Efem Nkanga, in this report finds out if the fears are real or imagined.

When a report broke out last week that the citing of masts in residential areas had led to a breakout of cancer in a residential building in the United Kingdom , some Nigerians naturally expressed dismay especially with the trend of some telecoms companies erecting their masts in or close to buildings where residents live. The report though as at then unconfirmed, was given a semblance of authenticity when Engr Joe Igbokwe, the chairman of the Lagos State Infrastructure and Maintenance Agency (LASIMRA) at a press conference lambasted telecoms operators in the country for putting the lives of innocent Nigerians at risk by citing their masts at residential areas.

Engr Igbokwe who decried the action of the operators promised that his agency will set up a technical committee of well-heeled and internationally acclaimed experts and professionals in ICT, medicine and science to advise government, via LASIMRA, on effects of the telecom base stations, which he reiterated are daily increasing the risks of Lagosians in leaps and bounds. However in a swift reaction, telecoms operators under the aegis of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria ALTON swiftly dispelled the allegations and fears expressed by LASIMRA, calling it unfounded and lacking any scientific backing. Engr Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of ALTON, stated that scientific researches held in the past and in the present have been conducted by global bodies to check the veracity of the claims that telecoms masts in or close to residential areas causes cancer and other deadly diseases and nothing has been proved by these research.

Various stakeholders have reacted to the claims. While some dismissed it outright, others called for more caution in the citing of masts to prevent an outbreak of incurable diseases.

The NCC at a recent telecoms parliament forum had allayed the fear of Nigerians when it disclosed that various researches conducted on the possibility of health hazards resulting from either the use of mobile phones or proximity to telecommunications installations and equipment including base stations, masts and antenna amongst others, do not pose any risk to human health.

Emphasizing that the rule of law must be upheld, Adebayo had requested that the Agency takes steps to retract these unfounded statements implying that telecoms masts cause cancer as the said statements could lead to a nationwide panic that could result in various communities calling on operators to come and remove their installations and even in some cases taking matters into their own hands.

However, in a bid to find out if these fears are real or imagined, THISDAY decided to do a little more research as to the viability or otherwise of these allegations and found out that indeed, across the globe of recent, people in some places like Germany, Ireland, the United States etc have complained that they have had adverse health reactions from the proximity of base stations to their residential quarters. In Ireland for example in the Pickardstown area of Tramore, residents objected against the citing of a mast because of perceived negative health implications that might arise. In spite of the objection though, authorities gave the go ahead for the mast to be errected. In defending its decision to put up the mast despite the opposition of the people of the area, a government official stated that permission was granted because the government felt the impact would not be "seriously detrimental" because it was close to the forestry.

In Germany , a family of four which lives in a valley below where a new base station of E-Plus/GSM (1900 Mhz) which started up working in May 2003 was erected have complained of heath failure due to the mast cited within their area. Even though the mast cannot be seen from their house. They where said to have lived there for 8 years without any problem caused by the base station (GSM 900MHz) at a distance of 2.5 kilometers away which had been working for several years until sometime in May 2003, when the symptoms set in.

Also in Amsterdam, Dutch scientists were said to have conducted a study that showed that frequent use of mobile phones leads to slower brain activity but that their capability to focus on specific issues increases,

The study on the long-term effects of mobile phone usage was published in the September edition of International Journal of Neuroscience. It was conducted by the Radboud University of Nijmegen and Brainclinics Diagnostic, a group of independent Dutch scientists doing individual brain research and applied scientific functional brain research.

In a related development Germany 's Environmental Ministry's recently issued a warning urging German's to avoid using Wi-Fi wherever possible because of the risks it may pose to health.

The government also advised its citizens to use landlines instead of mobile phones. A spokesman from the government office stated that Wi-Fi should be avoided because people receive exposures from many sources and because it is a new technology and all the research into its health effects has not yet been carried out.

Sometime in 2004, a Nigerian Professor by name Bola Osijo, Chairman of the Nigeria Nuclear Medical Council, warned that the erection of telecoms masts in residential areas was capable of causing cancer and other chronic diseases. He had disclosed then that about 50,000 Nigerians were being infected with cancer yearly before the advent of the telecommunications masts, and reiterated that the influx of the masts into the telecommunications industry and their erection in residential areas, had the propensity to increase the cases of the cancer disease. She added a warning that should nothing be done to prevent indiscriminate citing of telecoms masts, more Nigerians will be afflicted with the scourge. She had stressed then that research carried out by her committee had come up with findings that masts emit radiation that are dangerous to human health and could easily result to cancer. She emphasized that that radiation from a source like the GSM masts affects human cells and in the long run result in cancer. However, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, of ALTON debunked these claims and stated that other studies conducted by credible bodies had shown that perceived health concerns over proximity of humans to telecommunications installations / equipment and use of mobile phones are unfounded though it has remained an issue of concern to both the general public globally and the global telecoms industry.

He added that "Telecoms operators in Nigeria are registered and responsible members of the global industry body, the GSM Association (GSMA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the CDMA Group. Thus, all Nigerian operators benefit from a huge body of research undertaken independently by the different industry bodies in conjunction with international bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Union (EU)" In addition according to Adebayo,past and ongoing research and studies have been conducted by the GSMA independently and in collaboration with WHO as well as by several other international organisations on possible effects on human health of proximity to telecommunications installations and equipment and use of mobile phones. These studies and research till date have failed to show any causal link between adverse health effects and telecommunications installations and equipment, and use of mobile phones. Giving an example, Adebayo added that "in 2002 Vodafone, a GSM operator in Britain had sought to install mobile telephone antennae in the towers of the churches of St. Margaret, Hawes and Holy Trinity, Knaresborough, in the Leeds area of England . This action resulted in objections from residents within the vicinity of the churches, primarily on the grounds of health risks from living close to the antennae. After Vodafone petitioned the Leeds Combined Court in the recent English cases of St. Margaret Hawes (No. 215 of 2002) and Holy Trinity Knaresborough (No. 223 of 2002), it was determined that research and scientific studies on human health and the relationship between exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields and different types of cancer, reproductive problems, congenital anomalies, epilepsy, headaches and suicide etcetera do not provide any conclusive evidence of adverse health effects.

Commenting on the concerns expressed by LASIMRA about the effects of telecoms Base Stations, Adebayo urge the Agency to note that telecommunications equipment and installations including Base Stations used by GSM operators are manufactured by members of the global telecommunications equipment and handset manufacturers' Association, the Mobile Manufacturer's Forum (MMF) who also comply with the ICNIRP guidelines. He added that LASIMRA's proposals in respect of research in this regard would only be a duplication of what the NCC and the Federal Ministry of Environment are already mandated by government to do.

According to Adebayo, "all deployed telecoms equipment, installations, terminal equipment i.e. mobile handsets and customer premise equipment sold by all Nigerian telecoms operators in their varied bundled promotions are type-approved by the telecommunications industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in compliance with the electromagnetic Field (EMF) thresholds set by the ICNIRP guidelines, the ITU, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), amongst other industry standards setting bodies and as such do not pose any health threats"

With various studies being conducted in the past and others currently being conducted to find out if indeed, theses masts pose a hazard and threat to human existence, authorities concerned should not relent in conducting further researches, studies and texts to be 100 per cent sure that there is no risk attached to these masts. The thought of Nigerians being exposed to danger in any way because of proximity or exposure to these masts is not palatable and surely, the NCC, the regulatory authority responsible for the sector will not fold its arms and allow Operators to undermine the health of Nigerians just because they want to erect masts especially when the delicate issue of health comes to play. Operators should also periodically address the issue by making available credible reports of researches conducted on the issue that they have spearheaded on the matter to assure Nigerians that there is indeed no cause for alarm.
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Source:, Efem Nkanga, 13 Sep 2007

Wi-fi? Why worry?
Nigeria Created: 7 Aug 2007
Scare stories about the dangers of wireless networks lack credibility, argues Bill Thompson.

Wireless working is becoming more popular.

Students at Canada's Lakehead University have to be careful how they connect to the internet because wi-fi is banned on large parts of the campus.

University president Fred Gilbert, whose academic interests include wildlife management, environmental studies and natural resources science, is worried about the health impact of the 2.4Ghz radio waves used by wireless networks

Last year he decided to adopt the precautionary principle and refused to allow wi-fi in those areas that have what he calls "hard wire connectivity" until it is proved to be safe.

Mr Gilbert believes that "microwave radiation in the frequency range of wi-fi has been shown to increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier, cause behavioural changes, alter cognitive functions, activate a stress response, interfere with brain waves, cell growth, cell communication, calcium ion balance, etc., and cause single and double strand DNA breaks".

Unfortunately the science says he is wrong, and his students are suffering as a result.

Smog talk

While the heating effects of high exposures to electromagnetic radiation can be damaging, the power levels of wireless connections are much lower than the microwave ovens and mobile phones which share the frequency range, and treating them in the same way is the worst sort of scaremongering.

Yet Mr Gilbert is not alone.

While those who want to limit the use of wi-fi argue that they need evidence that is it safe, the problem with trying to prove that something is safe is that you can't.

In 2003 parents sued a primary school in Chicago because it had dared to provide children with easy access to computing resources over a wireless network.

And there are a number of pressure groups, campaigning organisations and ill-informed individuals who believe that wireless networks pose a threat to health and want to see them closed down.

Now it seems they have been joined by the editor of the UK newspaper the Independent on Sunday, which this weekend filled its front page with a call for research into the "electronic smog" that is permeating the nation's schools and damaging growing children's' brains.

An accompanying editorial with the even-handed headline "high-tech horrors" called for an official inquiry, while the article outlining the perceived dangers asked "Is the wi-fi revolution a health time bomb?"

The answer, of course, is "no".

That will not stop the newspaper stoking up a wave of opposition to one of the most liberating technologies to have come out of the hi-tech revolution, limiting children's access to networked computers at schools and even blocking plans to develop municipal wireless networks in our towns and cities.

Wi-fi has been removed from some UK schools

If the journalists were really concerned about the dangers of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on the sensitive brains of the young, they should be calling for the closure of TV and radio transmission towers rather than asking us to turn off our wi-fi laptops.

The modulated frequencies that carry Radio 4 and ITV into our homes are just as powerful as the wireless networks, and a lot more pervasive.

And my wireless network is only carrying data when I'm online, while Radio 3 burbles all day long, possibly exciting electrons in my brain and causing headaches.

Then there is the danger from photons of visible light streaming down onto us as we work, since these carry more energy than microwaves and could surely do more damage.

Perhaps we should demand that our children work in the dark.

Test programme

The fuss over wi-fi is the latest manifestation of a general worry about electromagnetic radiation, one whose concerns have ranged over the years from the fields around power transmission lines to the radiation emitted by computer monitors to the microwaves put out by mobile phones.

Campaigners are often supported by those who claim to be so sensitive to electromagnetic radiation that they cannot bear to have a radio turned on in the same room because the fields affect their brains, or those who claim that using a mobile phone gives them headaches.

Science is about proving theories wrong, not right said Karl Popper

Unfortunately studies like that of James Rubin from the Institute of Psychiatry indicate that such people are just as likely to get a headache when they believe there is a phone signal present even if it is in fact absent, and other research into electromagnetic sensitivity is equally negative.

There is no evidence that electromagnetic radiation at radio frequencies, where the energy levels are too low to dislodge electrons and affect molecular bonding, can cause health effects except by heating tissues.

While those who want to limit the use of wi-fi argue that they need evidence that is it safe, the problem with trying to prove that something is safe is that you can't.

Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science, helped us to understand that science is about falsification, about setting up hypotheses and theories and proving them wrong, because you can never prove them right.

Any theory can be overturned by new evidence, and any claim that wireless networks are completely safe could be thrown out tomorrow if we find good evidence that it isn't.

We may come up with a hitherto unsuspected mechanism that explains a previously disregarded effect, or the evidence may be statistical and require detailed investigation.

Were that to happen we should take it seriously, but it has not happened and there is no reason to believe it will.

The precautionary principle, of avoiding exposure to unnecessary risk, does not apply here because there is no known mechanism by which wireless networks could cause damage.

We have a sound model of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and organic matter that gives us little reason to believe that there will be any dangers.

For William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency and a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, to argue for an investigation on the basis of no real evidence that there is an effect, and in the absence of any plausible physical mechanism, is indefensible.

Cellphones heat the brain and could cause problems. Wi-fi doesn't, and it is safe. My daughter is sitting here as I write, her new wireless laptop beside her, and I'm a lot more worried about the damage she would do if she dropped it on her foot than I am about the impact of the low power radio waves it emits.

Bill Thompson is an independent journalist and regular commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet.
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Source: Business Day, Bill Thompson, 07 Aug 2007

Cell phone and health risks exposure
Nigeria Created: 12 Jan 2007
Cell phone and health risks exposure
The Cellular phone is a marvelous piece of invention, which has probably saved thousands of lives in an emergency and also helped to energize and improve communication at both local and international levels.
Its market penetration in to Nigerian terrain is phenomenal in consumer usage and in market growth. It is the GSM as it is popularly called, that saved Nigerians from the orgy of the rudderless telecommunication system we had then.

No wonder the warm embrace of cell phones which initially became a fashion, power and status symbol but eventually started to assume its true position of a necessity, a must have piece of IT gadget rather than an appendage when the euphoria relaxed.
Like every useful coin there is always a flip side and like every antidote there is always a side effect. What, I am about to tell you now is an epistle likened to a story called "What my mother failed to tell me then".?

Are Cell Phones Dangerous?

The answer is a definite yes. In today´s life style you are exposed to man-made electromagnetic fields. The growing demands of ever changing technologies and changes in social behavior have created electromagnetic fields around you. Radiation above certain level can trigger biological effects in human and has been known to damage human DNA.

Some evidence of Risk Presence.

A group of Scientists claim to have discovered a link between mobile phone use and eye cancer. Research by the team led by Dr. Andrews at the Starg University of Essen in Germany found that people who regularly use a mobile phone are three times more likely to develop cancer of the eye.
Writing in The Lancet in December, British Scientist Dr. Gerard Hyland warned that children are at the greatest risk from mobile phone radiation, especially from low intensity, pulsed radiation that could affect a number of brain functions.

Recently a Maryland neurologist filed an $800m. law suit at Baltimore City Court against several wireless providers and two umbrella organizations claiming that radiation from his cell phone is responsible for his malignant brain tumor. Dr. Christopher Newman, 41 was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1998

Whether you call them mobile, cellular, wireless, analog, digital, GSM, or Pc phones they are all the only radiation emitting products sold to consumers that is internationally placed against the head. There are fears that electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile phone handset may harm health. In particular there have been claims that it could affect the body's cells, brain or immune system and increase the risk of developing a range of diseases. It is the proximity to the head or other part of the body that elicit the danger.

Cell phone emit low levels of radio frequency energy (i.e. radio frequency radiation) The radiation in cell phone is generated in the transmitter, emitted through the antenna and penetrate the brain tissue, there by causing damage to the brain. The risk is higher for children whose tissues are tender and are still growing. This is because their brains are still developing and their skulls are thinner making it easier for the radio waves to penetrate them. Sir William Stewart, the Chairman of the UK Commissioned Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phone published its report in 2000. The Stewart report suggested that children should be especially careful about using mobile phones and recommended that they should only use hand set in emergencies.

Exposure to cell phone radiation has been linked as risk factor to the following frightening killer diseases: eye cancer, ear tumor, brain tumor, loss of memory, cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's fatigue, head ache, dizziness, sleeping disruptions, loss of libido, infertility etc. The Western world have not been quiet over these issues even though they have the capacity and the facility and supporting infrastructure to cope with any emergency arising from out break of any of these diseases. They can not afford to keep quiet because it is not in their character to hoard information from their very enlightened and rights conscious people. Besides, the Governments will be the one to foot the medical bill of any of them that is sick because of their National Health Service programme.

With this size of Nigerians subscribers which is more than an entire population of some European countries exposed to risk, I wonder why nobody is saying anything about this issue, especially so when we are ill equipped in all its raminifications to successfully handle any out break of disaster. May God protect us all. This information is a wake up call for individuals to search for information on this issue so that they can be in a better position to protect themselves and their loved ones.The Ministry of Information, Health,nigerian Communication commission, Nigeria environmental management Agencies should please take note. (Mr. Ogunseitan, a retired banker writes from Surulere, Lagos)
Mr. Ogunseitan
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Source: Martin Weatherall

Collapsed Nitel Mast Victims' Cry Out
Nigeria Created: 5 Apr 2006
Victims of the April 6, 2004 collased Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) mast in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, where some people were
killed, particularly children and houses damaged have sent a Save Our Soul (SOS) message to President Olusegun Obasanjo urging him to come to
their rescue.

The victims, in a statement singed by Alhaji Jauro Usman and Mallam Babangida Magaji respectively, and made available to THISDAY, lamented that for over two years, efforts to get their claims paid as agreed by both NITEL and NICON Insurance Corporation had remained futile.

The statement recalled that shortly after the incident, the NITEL officials from the headquarters, together with some officials from its territorial
office in Jalingo visited the scene after which the services of professional estate valuers were employed, while the damaged property was valued at N4,430,000

The statement added that it was regrettable that even when the deceased were expected to be compensated with the claims submitted to NITEL headquarters through its territorial office in Jalingo, nothing afterwards had been done about it. The statement added that after series of consultations and corespondences, officials from the Chartered Loss Adjusters Limited were sent to review the claims at N2,530,000.00 and N1,800,000.00 respectively.

Continuing, the statement stressed that an agreement was sealed by both parties for the damaged property and that of the dead child but that they were appalled when NITEL later wrote and reduced the amount to N1,141,360.00 and N200,000.00 respectively, indicating that the downward review was made by NICON Insurance.
"Despite all the humiliation and mental torture, we the victims suffered for nearly two years now, NITEL is yet to pay us a single kobo", the statement said.

When contacted on the matter, the Territorial Manager (NITEL) Taraba State Territory, Alhaji Mohammed Jalo absolved NITEL of any wrong dealing, stating that its has done its part by compiling claims of the affected persons and forwarding same to NICON while still awaiting its response.

The manager further disclosed that although other subsidiaries of insurance companies have paid their monies to the mother company which is NICON Insurance coorperation and all the payment are completed then NICON INSURANCE will issue cheque to NITEL and NITEL will in turn pay the victims their claims.

Jalo debunked insinuations that NITEL has taken the issue for granted, assuring that NITEL will ensure that the affected persons were duly compensated.

Relevant Links:
West Africa
ICT and Telecom
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Source: S: Cheke Emmanuel. Jalingo

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