How Senate approves emergency communications bill, strengthens NCC’s regulatory mandate

*The Nigerian Senate has approved the establishment of national emergency communications service for the deployment, coordination of seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs across the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In a move to establish a service for the deployment and coordination of seamless and reliable end-to-end communication infrastructure for emergency needs in Nigeria, the Senate in the National Assembly (NASS), Abuja, FCT, has passed a bill seeking to establish the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

ConsumerConnect reports the Upper Legislative Chamber of NASS Tuesday, September 21, 2021, also approved 112 as the toll-free number for emergencies.

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

Sen. Biodun Olujimi from Ekiti State presented the report on behalf of Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos), who is the Chairman of the Committee.

In her presentation of the Committee’s report to the Senate, the Federal lawmaker   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.

Sen. Olujimi also stated that Clause Five of the bill was amended to empower the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of formulating regulations and guidelines for the workings of the service in the West African country.

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, she said.

According to her, “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.”

Olujimi further said: “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 or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

The legislator added that 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.

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