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Senate Approves Nationwide Emergency Communications Service, 112 As Toll-Free Number

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The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill for the establishment of the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service, just as it approved 112 as the toll-free number for emergencies.

Emergency Communication Service is expected to involve deployment and coordination of a seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs throughout Nigeria as being done in the advanced world.

This was sequel to the consideration of a report on the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, by the Committee on Communications, chaired by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central) during Tuesday’s plenary.

The report was presented by Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South) on behalf of the committee chairman.

In her presentation, Senator Olujimi explained that Clause 2 of the bill is for the establishment of the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

According to the lawmaker, the agency, when established, would be charged with the responsibility of deployment and coordination of a seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs throughout Nigeria.

She added that Clause 5 of the bill was amended to vest the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of formulating regulations and guidelines for the workings of the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

Olujimi explained that Clause 11 of the bill prohibits the use of telephone and mobile telecommunications services to place a false, frivolous or vexatious call to the emergency number 112.

Clause 12 of the bill provides that, “a person who violates any of the provisions of this bill or the regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a penalty of not more than fifty thousand naira or in default to a term imprisonment not exceeding six months, and for each subsequent offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than two hundred and fifty thousand naira or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

In addition, new sub clauses (2), (3) and (4) were introduced in the bill to provide for the blacklisting of any person who violates Clause 11 for a period not more than eight weeks.

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