Senate Moves to Give Legal Status to NCC’s National Emergency Number 112

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By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The has taken steps to give legal backing to the National Emergency 112, being implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through it’s Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).

Recall that the emergency bill passed second reading on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 and public hearing on the bill recently held was to have extensive discussion towards making the bill more robust to ensure a more effective, uniform and well-coordinated national emergency 112, when it is finally passed into law.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, made available to Sundiata Post.

The statement reminded that the on Communications recently organised a one-day public hearing where gathered to make valuable contributions and observations on two bills by the on Communications. These bill are the Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021 and the Nationwide -Free Emergency (Establishment) Bill, 2021, being sponsored by Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

When the bill is finally passed into law, it will be similar to the 999 emergency number in the Kingdom and 911 in the .

Speaking at the public hearing, Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, stressed the desirability of the passing of such a bill into an Act of national , adding that the critical role of communication in modern day, especially in handling emergency situations cannot be over-emphasized.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Senate , Oluremi Tinubu, said the bill, when passed, will establish the Nationwide -Free Number as a emergency number and contact point for all emergency services in Nigeria, thereby harmonizing the various emergency numbers in the country into one uniform number while, at the same , empowering the NCC to supervise and ensure compliance.

Represented by his colleague, Odebiyi Akinremi, Amosun said the bill seeks to make 112 the Emergency Number of Nigeria, stating that “this will enable citizens have access to quick and timely response in respect of all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, outbreaks, burglary , medical emergencies and so on’’.

Also speaking, the Minister of Communications and Digital , Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, commended the Senate for organizing the public hearing. The Minister said while NCC had established functional ECCs across 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, efforts are in top gear to ensure ECC is established in the remaining 13 states of the Federation for the processing of the emergency calls through the 112 Number.

At the public hearing, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made a number of valuable recommendations that will make the bill, which he said might be cited as the ‘National Emergency Communication Act, 2021’ when passed into law, more effectual in terms of board composition, scope as well as ability to accommodate emergency services by different statutory and regulatory agencies.