Senate Proposes Bill To Establish Nationwide Primary Emergency Telephone Number

TECH DIGEST – Irked by the increasing insecurity in the country, the Upper Legislative Chamber, Nigerian Senate is proposing a Bill to create a nationwide primary emergency toll-free telephone number, that will aid Nigerians irrespective of the location to call and report emergencies to relevant agencies of government.

Tagged ‘National Emergency Number Act 2021’ the Bill, which is being sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun from Ogun State, will saddle the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of supervising, managing and implementing it and its provisions.

Explaining the bill at the Public hearing of the Senate Committee on Communications on the Nigerian Postal Service Act and the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number Bill 2021, Senator Amosun noted that the Bill, when passed into law, shall make 112 the Emergency Number of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and this number shall be free and uniform throughout the country.

The Senator representing Ogun Central constituency was represented at the hearing by Sen Tolulope Odebiyi.

“Distinguished Chairman and Members of the Senate Committee on Communications, invited Stakeholders, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the National Emergency Number Act 2021 seeks to provide for a Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number that will serve as the primary emergency telephone number for reporting emergency cases and incidences in Nigeria,” he announced.

According to the Senator, the 112 Emergency Number will enable Nigerians to have access to Emergency Service Agencies for quick and timely response to all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, fire outbreaks, burglary and medical emergencies.

He argued that even though there are several existing helpline numbers for emergency situations in Nigeria, findings have shown that the availability of multiple emergency telephone and helpline numbers in the country are becoming impediments for people to get an accelerated emergency response during emergency situations.

This, according to him is because a lot of people often find it difficult to decipher which of the numbers to put a call through to among the array of emergency helpline numbers available to them. But adopting the 112 as the uniform National Emergency Number will enable Nigerians to easily learn, remember and dial the number when in distress situations.

It will also save a lot of Nigerians the stress of having to memorize more than one emergency number.

“The use of 112 as the National Emergency number would create easy and seamless access for Nigerians including those in remote areas, to use the toll-free numbers to seek help in times of emergency,” he added.

The Senator also explained that Calls or Text Messages sent to the Emergency Number will land at the nearest public safety answering points or the control room for necessary secondary responses. Above all, this Bill seeks to guarantee an efficient and effective emergency response system that will provide a single point of contact for assistance in the event of any kind of emergency.

With over 200 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria, having 112 as the toll-free emergency number for the Federal Republic of Nigeria will go a long way towards ensuring that Nigerians in distress are just a dial away from the relevant emergency institutions. The number will provide a one-stop-shop for receiving distress calls from the public and dispatching the same to appropriate response agencies (first responders) who will respond to the needs of the callers.

 

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