The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has established and operationalised Emergency Communication Centres (ECC) across 18 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as a measure towards tackling the emerging security challenges
Executive Vice Chairman, Engr. Umar Garba Danbatta disclosed this at the Maiden Security and Emergency Management Awards (SAEMA) in Abuja, while delivering his keynote speech on: ‘Leveraging on Emergency Communication Centre for National Security’, which he said provided the Commission the opportunity to speak on one of its initiatives in ensuring a safer and secure Nigeria.
Represented by Chukwuma Azikiwe, Head of ECC, Danbatta said: “There is no gainsaying, that the discourse on security situation is a topical issue and of national concern, which every citizen of this country is conscious of, as its affects our well‐being and tranquillity.
“In the year 2005, the then Honourable Minister of Communication set up a committee drawn from relevant key stakeholders (Public and Private Sectors) to develop a framework to facilitate the establishment of a well-coordinated nationwide public protection and disaster relief communication system for the country.”
According to him, the Commission embarked on the construction and operationalization of the ECCs across the country to provide a universal, toll-free emergency telephone shortcode (112) for use by members of the public in Nigeria to seek for help in times of distress or emergency.
“To provide a one-stop-shop for receiving distress calls from the public and dispatching same to appropriate Response Agencies (“First Responders”) who will respond to the need of the callers.
“To provide easy, effective and coordinated access by members of the public to Response Agencies (Police, FRSC, Fire Service, Ambulance Service etc.) in times of emergency/distress, ” he said. Danbatta, who bagged Goodwill Ambassador on Crisis Communication at the event said that there are only three numbers to remember in an emergency 1-1-2, which he noted, eliminates the need to determine which emergency agency to call.
He explained that the Commission has already fully activated and operationalized ECC in the following 18 States: FCT, Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Enugu, Anambra and Adamawa.
He recalled that on the 23rd September 2019, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr Ali Isa Ibrahim (Pantami), commissioned the National Emergency Toll-Free number “112” and the Katsina State Emergency Communication Centre, representing the North West Zone.
Danbatta added that necessary preparations and arrangements are being put in place to ensure the successful commissioning of other Centres as well embarking a comprehensive publicity campaign on the usage of the emergency centres across the country.
He went further to list the positive impacts of the operationalization of the ECC in ensuring safety, security of lives and properties and the associated socio-economic benefits recorded so far cannot be overemphasized.
Reacting to this development, the Executive Secretary of the Centre for Crisis Communications (CCC), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), considered it as heart-lifting, that the NCC is establishing Emergency Centres across the states. Anas assured that CCC is willing, able and ready to partner with NCC to ensure that the Emergency Centres function effectively. “With our pool of experts in crisis communication and media management, we are sure to compliment the effort of NCC in this regard,” he said.