By Victor Akindele
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has built functional Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) in 19 states of the federation. Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this during the commissioning of the latest ECC in Imo, reiterated the Commission’s determination to operationalise the centre in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to Danbatta, the states that have benefitted from the project so far include Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Plateau, Enugu, Benue, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Adamawa, Kogi, Anambra, Imo states and the FCT.
Danbatta disclosed that over 1,500 COVID-19-related calls were received and processed through the Centres in the peak of the pandemic in Nigeria. “During the total lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECCs played a remarkable role by providing a platform for members of the public to seek lifesaving information or support and reporting COVID-19 related cases by dialling ‘112’ from any of the networks. I am happy to report to you that over 1,500 COVID-19-related calls were received and processed by the ECCs in the peak of the pandemic,” he said.
The EVC said the ECC project, equipped with necessary Information Technology (IT) tools and personnel, is a one-stop-shop through which members of the public can access help from any response agency, stating that the centre is essentially aimed at enhancing the security of lives and property of the citizens.
He listed the response agencies to include the Nigeria Police (NPF), the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Fire and Ambulance Services, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and all its affiliate State Emergency Management Agencies, among others.
“We have no doubt that, if put to maximum use and kept functional at all times, the ECC facilities will serve to complement the State Government’s efforts at enhancing the security of lives and property of citizens,” Danbatta added.
Speaking during the tour of the Imo ECC facility, the Minister thanked the State Government for giving the necessary support to the NCC to facilitate the successful implementation of the project, which has been bringing succour to the people Imo State.
He assured of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to supporting more initiatives aimed at achieving the tripartite agenda of the President which focuses on addressing security issues, improving the economy and curbing corruption.
The Minister noted that the country’s economy would reap huge benefits from effective implementation of more Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven projects across the country.
The Executive Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, thanked the Minister and the NCC for the ECC initiative, which he said has enhanced security of lives and property in the State.
The commissioning event which was hosted by Sen. Hope Uzodimma had in attendance, the Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, Prof. Adeolu Akande; Chief Uche Onwude, NCC Board Member; Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among other dignitaries.