FG To Build 37 Emergency Communication Centres In Nigeria

Source: SAINT MUGAGA - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, July 15, (THEWILL) - In an effort to stem the poor response to emergency cases in the country, the Government of Nigeria is to establish model Emergency Communication Centres (ECC) in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Bashir Gwandu has said.

Gwandu who disclosed this Thursday at a budget defence session with the House of Representatives committee on communication in Abuja said the ECC project is to cost N6.2 billion.

Also, the proposed registration of SIM cards, which is to gulp N6.1 billion, is to be completed within six months.

The Executive Chairman explained that the establishment of the ECC’s was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2005 explaining that the centres are expected to serve as intermediary between the public and the response agencies to ensure easy, effective and coordinated access by the public to agencies.

According to him, the ECC’s "are designed to minimize or eliminate the various logistic problems faced by response agencies so as to reduce their response to the barest minimum. All emergency response agencies will be accessed by dialing only 3-digit number -112," he stated.

He lamented that Nigeria lacks the framework for registration of SIM cards with the result that the identities of subscribers on the digital mobile network remain unknown adding that the absence of subscriber identification facility has far reaching security implications and has been exploited by unscrupulous individuals to perpetrate crime and other illegal activities in the country.

He said as part of its efforts to have a credible database of SIM card subscribers, the NCC is to partner with private sector Solution providers in a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement to develop and deploy secure and reliable Sim card registration system.

"The Solution providers will offer technical services for the conceptualization, design, development and delivery of a SIM card Registration Solution that will cover all Mobile phone Operators in Nigeria and will provide, as a result, detailed subscriber profile and data in a manner that will facilitate seamless integration into the existing National Identity Database and serve as the primary source of identity verification of all SIM card subscribers."

The commission is also expected to expend N377.9 million naira on the provision of ICT at the head office and zonal offices just as the commission has assured that it will continue with the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) in which ICT facilities are provided for schools and tertiary institutions.

He said in order to address the technical and manpower needs in the telecommunication industry, the sum of N14.6 billion is voted for various capital projects at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI). He explained that the DBI has already taken over the NITEL Training Institutions in Kano and Lagos.

Meanwhile, N788 million is estimated to accrue to the commission from licensing fee before the end of the year even as no new licensable undertakings are anticipated in the next one year.

In his response, Chairman of the House committee on communication, Hon. Dave Salako urged the NCC to ensure that the registration of SIM cards is completed within six months as promised. He said Nigerians were worried that dubious characters are exploiting the non-registration of SIM cards in the country to perpetrate crime.