Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) processed about 34 million calls bordering on security and emergency issues in the first eight months of the year, the telecom regulator has revealed.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the encouraging statistics indicates ECC’s rising value as a rallying point for the promotion of the security of lives and property of citizens.
There are currently 24 ECCs operational in 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Danbatta made this disclosure while delivering a goodwill message at the 17th edition of All Nigerian Editors’ Conference which is ongoing at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja. The theme of the conference is, “Media in Times of Crises: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus.” The conference was organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
Danbatta noted that historically, the media have always been in the vanguard of advocacy for values that are ennobling, edifying and unifying. Hence, he urged the media professionals to continue to play their watchdog role professionally and ethically, as a rallying point for unity and security in the country. He stated that accurate, unbiased reporting of national issues, especially those bordering on conflict and security matters, would promote economic development, fight corruption and ultimately improve security of lives and property in the country.
He stated that the NCC is contributing to improving national security in the country through the establishment of ECCs, which offer a lifeline to citizens in times of distress. The ECCs have continued to have profound positive impact on the lives of Nigerians.
He added: “In addition to the 23 already established and functioning ECCs, the Commission will soon activate ECCs in nine more states, and also plan to inaugurate similar project in the remaining four states by end of 2022, in keeping with Federal Government’s directive.”
The telecom regulator noted that in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic crisis in Nigeria, over 1,500 calls connected to COVID-19-related incidents were received and processed by the Centres.
“The centres provided a platform for members of the public to seek life-saving information and support with regards to COVID-19 related cases by dialing ‘112’ from any of the networks. More remarkably, Nigerians have become more aware of and are using the 122 Emergency Number. Between January and August, 2021, about 34 million calls were made by Nigerians, who were seeking succor during emergencies or under other security threats and unrest within their communities,” Danbatta said.
The Senate, Nigeria’s national upper legislative chamber, recently passed a bill to establish the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service, with 112 as primary toll-free emergency number for the country. Danbatta said the bill was in recognition of the importance of NCC’s emergency center projects to national security and economic growth.
He reiterated the commission’s commitment to implementing various national digital economy policies and regulatory frameworks aimed at deepening digitization, in order to further democratise access to communication facilities by the citizenry.