Disaster Management: NCC Set To Unveil Emergency Communications Centres Across Nigeria
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By Rommy IMAH
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will soon unveil its Emergency Communication Centres (ECC) across the country. This move is in line with global practices.
Nigeria is touted to have a poor record of disaster management in spite of the establishment of various agencies whose primary responsibility is to effectively respond to disaster whenever and wherever it happens, with the view to assisting the victims.
It is against this backdrop and in an effort to strengthen her disaster management institutions as well as provide a more effective means of emergence management that the Federal Government through the then Ministry of Information and Communications directed the establishment of Emergency Communication Centres for the country.
But digitaltimesng.com gathered that the latest move by the NCC is part of the Commission’s mandate to “Promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number which shall be designated as the Universal Safety and Emergency Assistance Number for telephone services generally.”
Emergency Communications Centres is an initiative of the federal government under the ministry of information and Communications. The centres are designed to offer Nigerians in distressed situation assistance by them making a call through to the centre on its code and the centre will respond with rescue depending on the nature of the distress.
Recall that Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council over 10 years ago approved the release of N2.4bilion for the commencement of Emergency Communications Centre projects across the country, setting the pace for full take off of the project few years after it was conceived.
The NCC noted in a release Sunday that the Centres which will be launched in various states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), will now afford Nigerians the opportunity of accessing help from any Response Agency such as the Police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Fire and Ambulance Services by simply dialing a toll free number 112 from any network.
digitaltimesng.com recalls that the Federal Executive Council (FEC), approved the establishment of the National Emergency Communications Agency (NECA) to set up an Emergency Communications System for Nigeria.
Members were drawn from the Ministry of Communication, NCC, Telecom Network Operators, Security Agencies, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other relevant agencies for the adoption of a three-digit emergency number, 112.
In the absence of an Act for NECA, the FEC approved that NCC should push for the establishment of one model Emergency Communications Centre in each of the states in the federation and the FCT.
Each state was requested to allocate a suitable piece of land, as its counterpart contribution for the establishment of the Emergency Communications Centre in the state, while NCC was to build, equip and operate the Centres for some years before handing over to the states.
NCC, has taken practical steps ever since to ensure that the Centres are established in various parts of the country. These Centres are specially designed to answer all 112 emergency calls and to direct each call to the appropriate Response Agency closest to the caller, thereby serving as a communication link between Public Response Agencies and members of the public.
The 112 number is a Toll-free line and can be called from any network. This three-digit number will help to provide timely information to relevant agencies for the prevention of crime, rescue distressed persons, mitigate and possibly prevent disasters.
Some of the states with operational Emergency Communications Centres are: Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Edo, Enugu, FCT, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Plateau.