In line with global practices, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has concluded plans to launch a number of Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) across the country, to boost public safety of Nigerians.
According to NCC, the initiative would promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number which shall be designated as the Universal Safety and Emergency Assistance Number for telephone services generally.
The centres will be launched in various states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). With the initiative, Nigerians can now access help from any response agency such as the Police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Fire and Ambulance Services by simply dialing a toll free number 112 from any network.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the establishment of the National Emergency Communications Agency (NECA) to set up an Emergency Communications System for Nigeria. Members were drawn from the Ministry of Communication, NCC, Telecom Network Operators, Security Agencies, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other relevant agencies for the adoption of a three-digit emergency number, 112.
In the absence of an Act for NECA, the FEC approved that NCC should push for the establishment of one model Emergency Communications Centre in each of the states in the federation and the FCT.
According to a statement from NCC, each state was requested to allocate a suitable piece of land, as its contribution for the establishment of the ECC in the state, while NCC would build, equip and operate the centres for some years before handing over to the states. NCC, has taken practical steps ever since to ensure that the centres are established in various parts of the country. These centres are specially designed to answer all 112 emergency calls and to direct each call to the appropriate response agency closest to the caller, thereby serving as a communication link between public response agencies and members of the public.
The 112 number is a toll-free line and can be called from any network. This three-digit number will help to provide timely information to relevant agencies for the prevention of crime, rescue distressed persons, mitigate and possibly prevent disasters.
Some of the states with operational ECCs are: Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Edo, Enugu, FCT, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Plateau.