By Omobayo Azeez
Nigeria must leverage and appropriately deploy telecoms and ICT resources in the fight against insurgency and to contain other emergencies, said Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
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He said this reality explained commission’s insistence on compliance by all stakeholders to the guidelines governing SIM registration, and why NCC had been upbeat in getting the emergency communication centres (ECC) ready all over the country as directed by the federal government.
Danbatta stated this in Abuja at the induction of the commission into the membership of Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA). Bassey Uket, a Principal Manager at the Commission’s Special Duties Department is NCC’s representative at the Forum.
Danbatta recalled the collaboration between NCC and the security and other emergency response agencies especially at the ECCs and suggest that many of the multi-faceted challenges can be addressed by scaling up the degree of deployment of electronic strategies.
To underscore the imperative of electronic and digital communication systems in managing the nation’s security challenges, Danbatta stated that “as we are addressing the situation in one part of the country, you find escalation in another part of the country.”
He cited the 112 Emergency Communication Numbers, which are routed to the ECCs, as “a practical implementation of a security system that is bringing succour to citizens in distress”.
The NCC boss added that he was gratified that there is an increasing “interface between citizens who are in distressed security situation and virtually all security and other emergency response agencies connected to it”.
According to him, “The ECCs is a well-conceived project. It is a project that has enhanced the capacity of agencies in the security governance sector to manage crises. The centres are well-equipped to address the purpose for which they were established.”
He emphasised that the ECCs have become a success story today because of the commitment of the Federal Government and the culture of dedication to continuity of strategic national projects by successive leadership of the Commission.
Earlier, Oluwatoyin Asaju, director, special duties at NCC said FOSSRA, which was established six years ago by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), has performed well in coordinating public information activities of security and emergency response agencies and has helped to improve inter-agency collaboration.
Meanwhile, Brigadier Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Defence Information and Chairman of FOSSRA told the participants at the meeting that crisis is not peculiar to Nigeria and the present escalating trend speaks to emergent global culture where non-state actors resort to violence to express grievances.