By Juliet Umeh
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, revealed that it’s toll free emergency number, 112, processed over 1,209 Covid-19 related calls between March and June from various Emergency Communications Centres, ECCs across the country.
Revealing the statistics during a media chat in Abuja, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said that 112 National Emergency Number allows Nigerians in distress to get help in emergencies.
He stated that 19 ECC have been activated across the country.
According to him, “the Commission has received special recognitions for its role in enhancing security of lives and properties of Nigerians and by implication, promoting the protection of telecoms consumers. “The 112 number has become a major channel of communication during this COVID period as over 1,209 COVID-19 related calls were made to the 112 national emergency toll free number between March and June 2020 from the various ECCs across the country.”
Speaking on how the Commission has been protecting and empowering consumers, Danbatta noted the consumer is king, “hence our consumer-centric regulatory initiatives to ensure consumer protection, information and education have continued to top our agenda.”
NCC Boss explained that the commission further empowers consumers in 2016 by introducing the Do-Not-Disturb, DND, 2442 Short Code, which gave consumers the power to opt-in or -out of unsolicited messages on their respective networks.
He said: “We prioritised consumer satisfaction by declaring 2017 as “the Year of the Consumer”, and set out with various projects to bring telecoms consumers closer to the Commission and their various network operators.
“The Commission also upgraded the NCC Toll-free Number 622 as secondary complaints mechanism to further empower and resolve consumer complaints.
“We also issued Directions on Data Roll-over and another on Forceful Subscription of Data Services and Value-added Services, VAS. The two directions have ensured effective protection of telecoms consumers.
“In 2019, we revised the NCC Consumer Complaints and Service Legal Agreement, CC/SLAs, with the Operators in order to ensure prompt response to consumer complaints while we have also reviewed the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations at a Public Inquiry.
The draft regulations are being concluded for publication in official Gazette.
“We initiated the Mobile Devices Management Systems, DMS, in collaboration with other agencies aimed at protecting consumers from the negative effects of substandard devices on the networks and the health of telecom consumers. The DMS project, when fully implemented, will help in combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry.
“Similarly, we have developed Regulations on E-Waste. The Regulations will ensure that, we are also able to rid our environment of indiscriminate disposal of malfunctioning and disused gadgets, which are capable of posing health risks to consumers,” Danbatta listed.
He added: “I also need to mention our commitment in protecting the lives and property of telecoms consumers by getting rid of improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module, SIM, cards. “We conduct periodic audit of the networks to ensure the MNOs do not harbour improperly registered SIM cards on their networks any further,” EVC said.