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Senate approves establishment of nationwide emergency communications service



The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill seeking to establish the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

It also approved 112 as the toll-free number for emergencies.

The approval followed the consideration of the report of Senate Committee on Communication on Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, at plenary.

The report was presented by Sen. Biodun Olujimi(PDP-Ekiti) on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Sen Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos).

Olujimi in her presentation explained that Clause two of the bill sought to establish a service which would be responsible for deployment and coordination of seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs nationwide.

She said Clause five of the bill was amended to empower the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of formulating regulations and guidelines for the workings of the service.

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

She added that “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 N50,000.

“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 N250,000 naira or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

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

Kingsley Okoye

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