The Senate has passed a bill to establish the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.
The lawmakers approved ‘112’ as the nationwide toll-free emergency number as the primary emergency telephone number in the country.
The passage of the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Communications.
The report was presented by Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Oluremi Tinubu.
The bill seeks to establish a communication service which will be used to implement a nationwide system for the reporting of emergencies to emergency service agencies.
It will also enable Nigerians have access to emergency service agencies for quick and timely response to all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, fire outbreaks, burglary, medical emergencies, etc; as well as guarantee efficient and effective emergency response system that will provide a single point of contact for assistance in any emergency situation; and
In her presentation, Ms Olujimi explained that the established Nationwide Emergency Communications Service will be charged with the responsibility of deployment and coordination of a seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs.
Part of the bill, she said, was amended to vest the Nigerian Communications Commission with the responsibility of formulating regulations and guidelines for the workings of the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.
The legislation also prohibits the use of telephone and mobile telecommunications services to place a false, frivolous or vexatious call to the emergency number 112.
Offences and penalties
The bill prescribes that persons who violate provisions of the legislation 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 or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.
It also states that a person shall be issued a recorded voice warning in the first to third instances. And subsequent violations shall attract blacklisting from making 112 CALLS for a period not more than eight weeks.
“Any further violation shall attract a summary conviction to penalty of not more than N50,000 or In default to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months.
“Upon conviction the court may in addition to the fine or imprisonment, order the blacklisting of an offender,” parts of the bill read.
The legislation will be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence and thereafter transmitted to the president for assent.
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