Senate Passes 112 Toll-Free National Emergency Number, Awaiting Buhari’s Assent

The Senate on Tuesday passed a Bill to adopt 112 as toll-free number for emergencies, in the proposed Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

This followed the consideration of the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021.

The Bill hinged on a report by the Committee on Communications was presented by Senator Biodun Olujimi on behalf of the Committee Chairman, Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

In her presentation, Olujimi explained that Clause 2 of the bill seeks to establish the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

She noted that when established, the Service would be charged with the responsibility of deployment and coordination of a seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs throughout Nigeria.

Olujimi also revealed that Clause 5 of the Bill was amended to vest the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of formulating regulations and guidelines for the workings of the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.

The lawmaker explained that 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.

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 fifty thousand naira 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 two hundred and fifty thousand naira or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

In addition, new sub clauses (2), (3) and (4) were introduced in 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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