By Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC
Beyond providing essential emergency response services to the Nigerian public, the Emergency Communications Centres (ECC), being implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) now provide employment placements for many Nigerian youth and professionals, as well as offering informal business activities to the citizens across the Country.
The ECCs, which have been constructed and are now fully operational in a total of 27 State Capitals across the country, are reachable on Toll-Free Number 112.
The ECCs are operating in similar design like the 911 Emergency Numbers in some developed parts of the world, to provide succor to individuals, who are witnesses or under distress of emergency, arising from fire outbreaks, robbery or violent attacks, domestic and road accidents, health crisis.
It helps users to instantly reach response agencies through the toll-free three (3) digit numbers, 112.
Four more centres are currently undergoing test-runs to commence services in September 2023, to bring the total to 31, while another set of four are expected to come into operations before the end of the year.
The Commission provided technology platforms such as Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems for the respective response agencies such as police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ambulance Service, and State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMA) to facilitate the dispatch of emergency calls through the national emergency toll-free number 112.
The three-digit code was designed to ensure that citizens in emergency situations can easily recall the three-digit code, 112, to report emergency situations.
Agents of the ECCs, have been trained, and equipped with state-of-the-art communications equipment, including digital radio and Internet-protocol (IP) and geo-location technologies to enable responders to easily identify location of incidents for effective and efficient delivery of rescue services to the public.
Emergency Centre services in Nigeria are available, live, 24 hours of the day as the agents run in shifts to ensure that services are delivered at all times of the day.
The response agencies, such as the Police with round-the-clock duties to prevent, stop and arrest crimes, are now being provided with additional mobile communications devices, some installed in their offices, to enable them to instantly receive information from call agents at the centres. This is to also ensure that top echelon of the force are provided instant information for command and control over emergency situations or incidents across the country.
As the ECCs assume more crucial roles in providing emergency communications services to the citizenry, it is also providing additional socio-economic responsibility of providing job opportunities to the citizens as each of the centres have staffs made up of Call agents, Facility/IT Staff, and Administrators. The basic salaries of the staff of ECCs, have been carefully set by the Commission, to ensure that the jobs at the centres are attractive for the Nigerian youths, and other category of employees.
In effect, more than 1,200 are currently offered employment at the 27 operational centres across the country, while more will be employed as the additional 8 centres under different stages of completion become fully operational by 2024.
The Centres are also managed by indigenous Nigerian consultants who are engaged to provide total facility and operational management of the centres.