The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has revealed that the commission has facilitated the establishment of the Emergency Communications Centres, ECCs, across the country.
He said the establishment of the ECCs was in line with the commission’s mandate under section 107 of NCA 2003, to promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number designed as the universal safety and emergency assistance number for telephone services generally; and encourage and facilitate the prompt deployment throughout Nigeria of seamless, ubiquitous and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency communication needs.
“It is in line with this mandate that the Board of the NCC, in 2006, with the endorsement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), commenced the establishment of an Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) in each of the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Consequently, the NCC allocated the Toll-Free 3-digit number ‘112’ as the Universal Emergency Communications telephone number in Nigeria.
“Through this dedicated number, members of the public can conveniently access help when in distress by simply dialling 112 from any of the networks at no cost. This toll-free number can help distressed persons access help from the Police, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Fire and Ambulance Services, National Emergency Management Agency.
“Today as Mr. President launches the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, it is important to mention that at the time this government came into power in 2015, broadband penetration was only 6%. Today it stands at 38.49%. We are expectant that with Government support, this will increase rapidly within the coming years,” the EVC said.
This was contained in the EVC’s speech at the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan 2020–2025, commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy complex, flag-off of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training and launching of the Abuja Emergency Communication Centre and the National Emergency Toll-Free Number 112 in Abuja on Thursday.
“It is my honour and privilege to welcome you all to the formal commissioning of the Communications & Digital Economy Complex and launch of the Emergency Communications Centre/ 122 Toll Free Number and two other very important projects under the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy: The Broadband Plan 2020-2025 and the National Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship Training,” the EVC said.
“The launch of these projects is a reflection of the growth and development in the ICT sector which commenced with the National Telecom Policy and the full liberalization of the telecommunications industry. Liberalization brought about licensing of more telecom companies, participation of the private sector and provision of many services which have helped to facilitate efficiency in other sectors of the economy.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the independent regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry, established by Decree number 75 of 1992 and reestablished by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
“It is responsible for the preparation and implementation of programmes and plans that promote and ensure the development of the communications industry as well as the implementation of the Government’s general policies on communications sector of the economy.
“As part of its desire to further develop the communications sector, the NCC set up the Digital Bridge Institute in 2005 and the NCC-DBI hostel and recreational facilities as part of its initiative to provide a conducive atmosphere for proposed students.
“The Facility was confirmed and ratified by the Federal Executive Council at its 45th meeting held on November 22, 2006. The NCC-DBI hostel and recreational facilities were abandoned before completion and were redesigned and modified by the NCC Management in 2018 from a hostel to an office complex; and was later renamed the Communications and Digital Economy Complex in line with current realities and policy direction.”
He explained further that the facility provides office accommodation to the Honourable Minister, Communications & Digital Economy and four full departments of the NCC.
According to Danbata, the newly commissioned Communications and Digital Economy Complex sits on eight hectares of land at Mbora district of Abuja with two level basement floors and five floors from ground level.
The EVC explained that the complex has many facilities such as 650-seater auditorium, offices, 300 mutli-level car park spaces and an additional 200 within the premises, a crèche for nursing mothers, industrial kitchen, a gymnasium and other sporting facilities for squash, table tennis, swimming pool and sewage treatment plant.
“There are also six lifts, a central air conditioning system, fire alarm and detection system, firefighting system, data and access control system, external street lights and CCTV control room and also five 800KVA generators and three dedicated transformers connected to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN),” he revealed.
He said the world-class complex is the product of President Buhari’s effort in creating an enabling environment for the ICT sector in recognition of its value as an enabler for other sectors of the economy.
“Permit me to underscore the importance of broadband penetration in economic development, as this is the main medium through which ICTs can be networked to create jobs and provide efficiency to support government and businesses. It is the platform on which all ICTs will operate and is key to the efficiency of the Emergency Communication Centres and the development of digital innovation. The statistics of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) also indicate that for every 10% increase in broadband, there is a corresponding GDP growth of 1.3%.
“The telecommunications industry has also continued to make internationally recognized strides in development and growth, contributing significantly to Nigeria’s economy and the social transformation of Nigerians.
“We are pleased to state that the Telecommunications and Information Services contributed 9.2% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria in Quarter 3, 2019 with Information and Communications making a total contribution of 11.34%.
“The statistics also show an increase in teledensity, active voice subscription, active internet subscription and usage. These statistics indicate an uptake in communications services by Nigerians.
“Let me use this medium to reiterate the unflinching commitment of the Commission towards delivering on its mandate of ensuring the effective regulation of the telecommunications sector for the good of all Nigerians.
“It is the Commission’s expectation that all the projects commissioned today will be put into maximum use to support the economic growth of the country.