NCC Says N10bn Expended on Setting up Emergency Communication Centres

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  • Danbatta: It was a strategic mistake not to have invested on fixed telephony

Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, wednesday said the commission spent more than N10 billion to set up its Emergency Communication Centres (ECC), for citizens in distress or requiring emergency service.

He however admitted that not many people are aware of these centres, adding that the establishment of the centres started in 2003 when the National Assembly (NASS), passed the Act to use the digit 112 as emergency communication numbers.

He said, NCC will soon extend the Centres to cover all the states, stressing: The Centres are expected to interface with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Fire Service, Hospital ambulances, and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), who are the major providers of emergency services.

The EVC, made the disclosure in Abuja, during an interface with Defence attaches of foreign missions in the country, on the investment opportunities that lie within Nigeria’s telecommunications sector.

He said: “Today we have emergency communication Centres, in virtually all states of the country, the Centres provide interface between citizens in distress or requiring emergency services providers like the Fire services, FRSC, Ambulance services, the Police and the 5 emergency services providers.

“It is interesting to note that there is a provision to expand the emergency services providers and this is active in 5 states, you can dial 112.

Danbatta was however amazed that many Nigerians and foreigners are not aware that Nigeria has emergency communication scheme that provide avenue for them to be given emergency services from the key emergency service providers.

He said: “Today, we have expended more than N10 bn to set up the emergency communication Centres in accordance by the directive given by government through NASS.”

In responding to why Nigeria has no fixed telephony, Danbatta, said: “There was a strategic mistake on the neglected fix telecommunication sector when the euphoria of mobile services came because the explosion in the GSM system then was unimaginable.

“This explosion took the teledensity to over 100 percent as virtually all Nigerians have access to mobile services. But there is a price that we are paying for neglecting fixed telecommunications services.

“All of a sudden the mobile networks are overburdened now. In many countries they took a wise decision of managing their fix lines together with the mobile networks and part of the burden of mobile networks is therefore lessened.”

However, he said Nigeria is open to interested investors who may want to come to Nigeria to deploy fix telephony services in order to reverse what had happened and to alleviate the burden of the grappling with the quality of service.

He said: “I think from hindsight if we have given the necessary attention and maintain our fixed telephone services. I’m sure there would have been better quality of services that we are getting.

“The NCC is disposed to entertaining request for licensing of fix telephony service provider especially from Iran.”

In a remark, the Defence Adviser and Attache to Foreign Liason Office, Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Commodore, Aminu Hassan, said the purpose of the visit is to expose the foreign Defence advisers to the huge investment opportunities in the country’s telecommunication sector.