Monday, September 03, 2012

National Emergency Number 112 not ready 7 years later

Reports coming in indicate that the project to install a single emergency number 112 or 199 nationwide is in various stages of completion across the states.
The project entails siting Emergency Communication Centres (ECCs) in each state of the Federation and Abuja to enable members of the public alert the security agencies to emergency situations, threat to life or to volunteer useful security information to authorities.
According to Technology Times, this project has so far gulped over N4billion since it was conceived in 2005 by a Special Inter-Agency Committee comprising the then Ministry of Communications, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Security Agencies, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), among others.
Huawei was awarded a $13.572million contract for the Communications Infrastructure. The company will the centres with the required gadgets for exchanging information with various security agencies. The facilities are to include 11 workstations for call takers in each State; System Servers and Switches for each State; UPS Battery Bank for each State; Universal Access Platform; Array Storage Systems and Raised Platforms, according to the project audit report seen by Technology Times.

Contracts for the construction of bungalows housing the communication infrastructure across 36 States of the Federation and Abuja were awarded at the cost of N2.44billion to 22 companies with the audit showing that number of states allotted per contract beneficiary ranged from one to a maximum of three. These have been concluded in 23 states including Niger, Anambra, Gombe, Bauchi, Katsina, Zamfara, Osun and Benue, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Borno, Enugu, Ekiti, Edo, Yobe, Kano, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Taraba, Kogi and Ondo.

Nine states that have also recorded specified levels of progress as evaluated by the audit include Nassarawa, 90%; Oyo, 85%; Cross River, 95%; Adamawa, 50%; Plateau, 90%; Ogun, 75%; Delta, 40%; Abia, 50% and Kwara, 50%.

However, the audit reveals that little progress have so far been made in five states that include the FCT, Lagos and Bayelsa where land for the construction of the ECC has just been obtained.
Also, three GSM networks, MTN Nigeria, Glo and Airtel have been chosen to serve as 112 carriers for the assigned Emergency code and will also provide interconnect facilities for the seamless running of the ECCs, according to the audit report citing that other phone networks will also be required to route all calls on the emergency numbers to the designated carrier at the respective centers.

So far, MTN Nigeria has provided interconnection at Minna, while Glo has provided interconnection at Akwa, Oshogbo, Makurdi, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina and Gusau.

Plans are underway for the development of a coordinated strategy for effective response to the ECCs by the designated Response Agencies including Fire Departments, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Ambulance Service, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Police, among others, the report says.

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