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NCC expands opportunities for youth employment, professionals at Emergency Communication Centres

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

*The Nigerian Communications Commission discloses the telecoms sector regulator has carefully set the basic salaries of staff at the Emergency Communications Centres to ensure available job opportunities are attractive to both youths and other categories of employees across the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is currently test-running four more Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) to create more opportunities for the citizenry.

ConsumerConnect reports the telecoms sector regulatory Commission disclosed the additional ECCs are slated to commence services September 2023, bringing the total to 31, while another set of four Centres are expected to begin operations before the end of 2023.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs (DPA) at NCC, Sunday, August 27, 2023, stated the Commission, aside from offering essential emergency response services to telecoms consumers through the Emergency Communications Centres, now provides employment placements for several Nigerian youths and professionals.

The regulator noted the ECC projects as well offers informal business activities to the citizens across the West African country.

ECCs fully operational in 27 state capitals: DPA

The Director of Public Affairs at NCC said: “The ECCs, which have been constructed and are now fully operational in a total of 27 State Capitals across the country, are reachable on Toll-Free Number 112, and are operating in similar design like the 911 Emergency Numbers in some developed parts of the world.”

The Commission further explained the Centres are designed to provide succor to individual consumers, who are witnesses or under distress of emergency, arising from fire outbreaks, robbery or violent attacks, domestic and road accidents, health crisis, to instantly reach response agencies through the toll-free three (3) digit numbers, 112.

According to NCC, four more centres are currently undergoing test-runs to commence services September this year.

These bring the total number of ECCs to 31, while another set of four are expected to come into operations before the end of the year, said Muoka.

How ECCs run on technology platforms to facilitate emergency calls

It is also noted the  Commission provided technology platforms, such as Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems for the respective response agencies, including the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ambulance Service, and State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) to facilitate the dispatch of emergency calls through the national emergency toll-free number 112.

It stated the three-digit code was designed to ensure that Nigerian citizens in emergency situations could easily recall the three-digit code, 112, to report emergency situations within the country’s digital ecosystem.

Requisite training for agents at Communication Centres

In order to ensure optimal results, the NCC said the ECC agents had been trained, and equipped with state-of-the-art communications equipment.

These include digital radio and Internet-protocol (IP) and geo-location technologies to enable responders to easily identify location of incidents for effective and efficient delivery of rescue services to the public, states the Commission.

NCC’s collaboration with emergency response agencies

The Commission as well disclosed the functional Emergency Communication Centre services in Nigeria are available and live 24 hours of the day, as the agents run in shifts to ensure that services are delivered at all times of the day.

Likewise, the telecoms sector regulator said response agencies, such as the Police with round-the-clock duties to prevent, stop and arrest crimes, also were being provided with additional mobile communications devices, with some installed in their offices to enhance instant exchange of information between them and call agents at the centres.

“This is to also ensure that the top echelon of the force are provided instant information for command and control over emergency situations or incidents across the country,” the NCC said.

Over 1,200 Nigerians currently employed at 27 ECCs

The regulator stated as  the ECCs assume more crucial roles in providing emergency communications services to the Nigerians, the Commission is also providing additional socio-economic and job opportunities to the citizens as each of the centres has staff among the Call agents, Facility/IT Staff, and Administrators.

It stated: “The basic salaries of the staff of ECCs have been carefully set by the Commission, to ensure that the jobs at the centres are attractive for the Nigerian youths, and other categories of employees.

“It effect, more than 1,200 are currently offered employment at the 27 operational centres across the country, while more will be employed as the additional 8 centres under different stages of completion become fully operational by 2024.”

The Commission said the operational Emergency Communication Centres are also managed by indigenous consultants.

These are have been engaged to provide total facility and operational management of the centres, the NCC stated.

ECCs are one-stop shops for distress calls –Danbatta

It is recalled the Commission, in 2018, established Emergency Communication Centres, and operationalised the across 18 states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as a measure towards tackling the emerging security challenges.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and  Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), who disclosed the development in his Keynote Speech at the Maiden Security and Emergency Management Awards (SAEMA), in Abuja, FCT, said the ECCs project is one of the NCC’s initiatives for ensuring a safer and secure Nigeria.

Danbatta, in his address on the occasion where he bagged “Goodwill Ambassador on Crisis Communication”, said the Commission had embarked on the construction and operationalisation of the ECCs across the country to provide a universal, toll-free emergency telephone short code (112) for use by members of the public in Nigeria to seek for help in times of distress/emergency.

He stated other reasons include: “To provide a one-stop shop for receiving distress calls from the public and dispatching same to appropriate Response Agencies (“First Responders”) who will respond to the need of the callers.

“To provide easy, effective and coordinated access by members of the public to Response Agencies (Police, FRSC, Fire Service, Ambulance Service etc.) in times of emergency/distress.”

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