The President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan has thrown his weight behind the calls to legally strengthen the country’s National Emergency Number 112, being implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).
The Senate President, who spoke recently at a public hearing, organized by the Senate Committee on Communications, also stressed the desirability of the passing Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021 into an Act of National Assembly, adding that the critical role of communication in modern-day, especially in handling emergency situations cannot be over-emphasized.
The emergency number bill, being sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State 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 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.
The bill seeks to make 112 the Emergency Number of Nigeria and will enable citizens to have access to quick and timely response in respect of all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, fire outbreaks, burglary and medical emergencies.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (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.