Nigerians are taking advantage of the provision of the National Emergency Number 112, by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, in stemming the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus, known COVID-19.
Nigerians are able, to call emergency response agencies or first responders, with respect to any issue that, they may want to report, on the Coronavirus, or, other health-related issues and emergencies.
States and Federal Government agencies are, already, leveraging the 112 National Emergency Number, whose calls, are handled, through the Emergency Communication Centre, ECC, established by the Commission, across the country.
The ECC project is, the brainchild of NCC, to enable easy communication, by Nigerians, with emergency first responders, such as the Police, Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Orientation Agency, NOA, among others, by dialing the three-digit toll-free Number, 112.
On assuming office, as the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC. in 2015, Professor Umar Danbatta, quickly, put machinery in place, to accelerate the implementation of Emergency Communication Centres, ECC, across the country, in line with the decision of the Nigerian government, to enhance security of lives and property and as mandated, by the Nigerian Communications Act, NCA, 2003.
The NCC fast-tracked the execution, of the emergency project, whose implementation had, hitherto, been dragging, in recognition of its mandates, to promote and enhance public safety, through the use of a particular number, which shall be designed, as the universal safety and emergency assistance number, for telephone services, generally.
So far, the ECCs, with their operational 112 toll-free emergency number, have been implemented, in 17 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Aside FCT, beneficiary States of the ECC include, Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers, Imo, Enugu, Anambra and Adamawa.
Efforts are ongoing, by the Commission, to deploy the ECC facilities in other States of the Federation.
Today, the 112 National Emergency Number is, fully, available in all the aforementioned States and FCT and can be leveraged, by Nigerians, as an alternate number, to reach first responders, at this period of COVID-19, when seeking help and assistance, from applicable government response agencies, during emergencies.
Already, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, identified the centrality, of the 112 number, towards handling citizens’ calls, for help, in this time of Coronavirus pandemic.
Obaseki , in a State-wide broadcast, to sensitise the people of the State, on the epidemic, urged the people of Edo State, to take advantage of the 112 three-digit, toll-free number, to get help from response agencies, in case they want to pass critical information, to the government and the State Task Force on COVID-19.
It would be recalled that, President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 19, 2020, unveiled the Abuja ECC facility and flagged off the 112 National Emergency Number, during the commissioning of the NCC’s Communications and Digital Economy Complex, at the Mbora District of Abuja.
The President explained that, the 112 Number, demonstrates his administration’s resolve, to keep Nigerians safe.
“We have taken advantage of digital technologies, to ensure that, Nigerians in distress, are only a dial away, from the relevant emergency response institutions, in the country via the 112 Number”, President Buhari said.
According to him, the NCC’s 112 National Emergency Number, will go a long way, in supporting our efforts, to improve the security of lives and property.
With coronavirus, spreading across the globe and more people, living in isolation, the NCC’s 112 Number is, providing alternatives, for people to stay in touch and institutions, to provide the needed basic life-saving services, to the populace.