The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has established Emergency Communication Centres (ECC) across 18 States of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The ECC are operational in Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Enugu, Anambra and Adamawa.

This was disclosed at the weekend by NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Engr. Umar Garba Danbatta, at the maiden Security and Emergency Management Awards (SAEMA) in Abuja, while delivering a speech on: ‘Leveraging on Emergency Communication Centre for National Security’.

The commission said the toll-free emergency telephone shortcode (112) is for Nigerians to seek for help in times of distress and emergency.

Other reasons include: “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 needs 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.”

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.

Represented by Chukwuma Azikiwe, Head of ECC, Professor 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.”

Speaking, Executive Secretary of the Centre for Crisis Communications (CCC), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), said the body was willing 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 complement the efforts of NCC in this regard,” he said.

The Chairman, Panel of Jury for SAEMA 2019, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Mohammed Audu-Bida, commended the NCC efforts in the management of crisis communication.

Audu-Bida, who was represented by Mr. Mohammed Usman Shuwa, said. “Establishment of Emergency Communication Centres is one project that has always been dear to my heart. As the DG of NEMA I conceptualized the idea of having emergency communication centres in the country.

“I will urge the EVC of NCC to go all the way in making sure that these centres function effectively as it will complement the efforts of the security and response agencies. Now that NCC has put up the facilities, it should seek the partnership of experts and professional crisis managers to give life to the centres.”

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