Nigeria will soon have a national emergency number, 112, as the Senate has moved to strengthen the legal status of the number being implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).
This follows the one-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Communications where stakeholders gathered to make valuable contributions and observations on two (2) bills by the committee.
This disclosure is contained in a press statement issued by the NCC and signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde.
The statement says that the 2 bills are the Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021 and the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
What the NCC is saying about the Emergency Number
The statement from the NCC partly reads:
“Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, The Senate, has taken further steps towards strengthening the legal status for the country’s National Emergency Number 112, being implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).
The Senate Committee on Communications recently organised a one-day public hearing where stakeholders gathered to make valuable contributions and observations on two bills by the Senate Committee on Communications.
These are the Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021 and the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, being sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.”
According to the statement, the emergency number bill passed the second reading on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, and the recent Senate public hearing on the bill was to have extensive discussion towards making the bill more robust to ensure a more effective, uniform and well-coordinated national emergency number, 112, when it is finally passed into law, similar to the 999 emergency number in the United Kingdom and 911 in the United States.
The Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan, while speaking at the public hearing, stressed the desirability of the passing of such a bill into an Act of the National Assembly, adding that the critical role of communication in the modern world, especially in handling emergency situations, cannot be over-emphasised.
Also, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Oluremi Tinubu, said the bill, when passed, will establish the Nationwide Toll-Free Number as a primary 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 time, empowering the NCC to supervise and ensure compliance.
Senator Amosun, who was represented by his colleague, Senator Odebiyi Akinremi, said the bill seeks to make 112 the Emergency Number of Nigeria, stating that this will enable citizens to have access to quick and timely response in respect to all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, fire outbreaks, burglary, medical emergencies and so on.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, while commending the Senate for organizing the public hearing, said NCC had established functional ECCs across 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja with efforts 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.