The Emergency Communication Centres (ECEs) established by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) are already recording successes in terms of the number of distress calls they get on emergency situations.
The anxiety calls have also enabled relevant security and relief-providing agencies to swiftly respond to the sudden emergencies, immediately they are notified and resolved such incidences especially on Road Accidents, Fire-Outbreaks, armed robberies, abandoned corpses, street-fight and Rioting.
The agencies responding to the distress calls include the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Federal Road Safety Commission FRSC), Federal Fire Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Sanitation Department, Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
But amid the strides recorded by the ECCs, many Nigerians are still not aware of NCC’s universal toll-free emergency telephone short code of 112, which is to be used by members of the public to seek help in times of distress/emergency.
According to the latest data on emergency calls recorded in some of the ECCs for the end of 2019, which was obtained and analysed by PRNigeria, the Ibadan Centre recorded 39 percent of road accidents, 24 percent of fire incidents, 16 percent of dead body found, 13 percent of robbery incidents, and 8 percent of gunshot/assault cases.
In Akure, the rates of accidents, fire outbreaks, robbery/gunshot and dead bodies are 35 percent, 28 percent, 24 percent, 13 percent respectively.
According to the analysis by PRNigeria, though there were incidences of robbery and fire outbreaks, but FRSC received the highest number of distress calls, followed by the Fire Service and Police in Enugu. In the same Enugu, the cases of kidnappings reported was low, though there were several hoax calls.
In the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Cases of Road Accident recorded 44% followed by Fire outbreaks 32%, Street Fight/Riots 9%, Robbery 9% and reported cases of abandoned corpse/dead bodies 6%.
Meanwhile, in Plateau and Kwara which are in central Nigeria, the Emergency Communication Centres in Jos and Ilorin handled more reports on Road Accidents and Fire Incidents followed by Robbery, Cultism and Kidnapping.
PRNigeria observed that the activated 112 toll-free Emergency Telephone Number is only available at Emergency Communication Centres (ECCs) in 18 states across the six geopolitical zones. The south-west has four centres in Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Oyo States; South-East has three ECCs in Anambra, Enugu and Imo States and three in South-South states of Akwa-Ibom, Cross River and Edo.
The Service is also available in three North-West states of Kaduna, Kano and Katsina State and also three in North-Central States of Benue, Kwara and Plateau. Only Adamawa has the service in the North-East zone. The service is also activated in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
While hosting the meeting of the Forum of Spokesperson of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) and Centre for Crisis Communication in Abuja last week, the Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said efforts are ongoing to activate ECCs in the remaining states of the Federation.
He said the commission embarked on the construction and operationalization of the ECCs across the country to provide a universal, toll-free emergency telephone short code (112) for use by members of the public in Nigeria to seek for help in times of distress/emergency.
The EEC, as a measure towards tackling emerging security challenges, provides a one-stop shop for receiving distress calls from the public and dispatching same to appropriate response agencies, who will respond to the need of the callers.
Each of the ECC is equipped with eleven workstations, six dispatch workstations for the Response Agencies, and a server system that receives and processes 112-calls from members of the public, and then dispatches the calls to the appropriate Agency that has the responsibility to attend to the specific emergency, among other facilities.