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COVID-19: Dambatta pays surprise visits to Kano, Kaduna emergency communications centres

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NCC EVC Profile Picture

Nasiru Yusuf

In a bid to ensure that the toll-free 3-digit National Emergency Number, 112, is being put to effective use in this critical time of Coronavirus pandemic, and national objective of enhancing security of lives and properties, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, paid surprise visits to the Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) in Kano and Kaduna on Sunday.

Prof. Dambatta’s visits were informed by his realization that, with Coronavirus spreading across the globe and more people living in isolation, the NCC’s 112 toll-free number could play a crucial role of providing effective alternatives for people to reach out to relevant agencies with a view to securing help in times of emergency.

During his visits to the two centres, Prof. Dambatta had extensive interactions with the personnel on ground, as he asked various questions bordering on the in-coming call traffic volume and how the calls are effectively dispatched to various emergency response agencies (ERA) connected to the centres for prompt response, especially the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC).

He also took his time to find out if the centres were facing any challenges that needed to be addressed for their optimum efficiencies and effectiveness towards delivering on their mandates.

The EVC urged the personnel on duty at the two ECCs to see their work as national assignments on saving the lives of fellow Nigerians in terms of emergencies.

“As you all area aware, the country in on lockdown in Lagos, Ogun States and FCT, and I will therefore enjoin you to always ensure you don’t miss any call that comes into the centre. You will also be expected to ensure prompt dispatch of calls received to the relevant emergency response agencies, so that there is no any dereliction of duty that will result in loss of lives and property to our fellow Nigerians, who may even be our close relatives,” Mr Dambatta urged the excited personnel.

The NCC boss advised the personnel to observe sanitary measures like hand washing and social distancing at the centres.

In both Kaduna and Kano centres, the managers told the EVC that they had been receiving coronavirus-related calls.

The personnel also appreciated the visits of the EVC to the centres which they variously described as ‘a morale booster’, ‘a good regulatory oversight’ and ‘an encouragement’ for them to be more committed to their assigned roles at the emergency communications centres.

As NCC project mandated in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, the implementation of the ECC got a boost when Danbatta became the country’s telecoms regulator-in-chief in 2015.

Till date, 18 of the centres have been built and are operational in all 17 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Each of the ECCs is equipped with 11 Workstations (10 for call taking and one for the Supervisor); a server system that receives and processes 112-calls from members of the public and then dispatches the calls to the appropriate Agency that has responsibility to attend to the specific emergency.

Facilities in the ECC also include power supply mix consisting of public power supply from the national grid, two (2) units of 100KVA generators; and two (2) units of 20KVA UPS powered by 160 units of 100AH inverter batteries and a 10KVA UPS powered by 16 units of 100AH inverter batteries; and six dispatch workstations for the Response Agencies.

The significance of the ECC project was underscored by President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 19, 2020, when unveiled the 112 National Emergency Number and ECC for the FCT, describing it as a project that will complement the Federal Government’s efforts enhancing the security of lives and property in the country.

Presently, states, relevant agencies of governments and individuals Nigerians are making use of the 112 Number to seek help during emergencies, and more importantly, at this critical time when government is working round-the-clock to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

In December last year, the NCC and Mr Dambatta received separate awards of ‘Corporate Social responsibility Award in Security and Emergency Management’ and ‘Nigeria’s Goodwill Ambassador for Security and Emergency Management’ respectively during first-ever Security and Emergency Management Awards (SAEMA 2019) held in Abuja by the Emergency Digest, in conjunction with the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC).

The Commission also got inducted into the membership of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) in February, 2020, in recognitions of the critical role the ECC is playing in securing safety of lives and properties of Nigerians.

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Shekarau advocates power shift to south

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Nasiru Yusuf

A former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, has urged the All Progressive Congress (APC) to field a southerner as its presidential candidate in 2023.

Ibrahim Shekarau says political power shift is necessary for all Nigerians to have a sense of belonging.

KANO FOCUS reports that Mr Shekarau, who is a serving senator, spoke in an interview with BBC Hausa Service on Wednesday. He said the idea is to ensure justice and fairness.

According to him, although rotational presidency is not written in APC’s constitution, he believes it is desirable for justice and fairness.

“For instance, the present six geopolitical zones are not reflected in Nigeria’s constitution, but it is a good arrangement. You cannot implement any policy in Nigeria without taking geopolitical zones into consideration.

“This is also the same with rotating the presidency between the North and the South. If we ignore power shift, we are not being fair to ourselves and we are not fair to history. In my opinion, power shift is necessary for all Nigerians to have a sense of belonging.

“I am of the opinion that, we should exercise patience and bring our brothers from the South close to us.

“You see, the North alone cannot produce the votes enough for the president. Likewise the South, it is only when we come together. My believe is not only geopolitical regions, there is no state in the federation that does not have a competent person to lead this country.

“Violating this arrangement will further divide Nigerians. Some will feel neglected or rejected,” Mr Shekarau said.

On the possibility of the opposition party fielding a northern candidate, the politician said both the PDP and APC face the same dilemma. “Each is trying to outsmart the other.

“My advice to the parties (APC and PDP) is they should not look at zoning from political exploitation, but what should be just and fair. Fair play and competence of the candidate should be the be the guiding principle,” he said.

Commenting on the defection of some politicians to the APC, Mr Shekarau described it as a remarkable success worthy of celebration.

He said: “within the last two months, two governors have defected to APC. It is quite a success. There are also groups and individuals who joined the party.

“However, there is a need to conduct congresses and elect party officials from the ward to national levels. There is also a need to set up a modality of how to spread political appointments across the country

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Kano gets 3,148 new polling units

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expanded the polling units in Kano state from 8,074 to 11,222 to create easy access to polling units.

Kano Focus reports that the INEC chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu revealed this to journalists on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mr Yakubu revealed that Kano Central has 1,978 more polling units while Kano South and Kano North have 658 and 513 respectively.

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The 10 local governments that have the highest number of additional polling units are Nassarawa 334, Kumbotso 220, Gwale 207, Tarauni 207, and Ungoggo 179.

Others are Dala 163, Fagge 163, Kano Municipal 160, Danbatta 94, and Dawakin Kudu 92.

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Nigerian Navy to establish desert warfare institute in Kano

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Chief of Naval Staff CNS Real Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, has agreed to move Desert Warfare Institute to Kano.

KANO FOCUS reports that this was disclosed by, Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Navy, COR Ezekobe

when he led a delegation to governor Ganduje at his office, in Kano, Wednesday, to brief the governor about development so far.

He said “We are here to actualize the fruitful engagement we had when His Excellency visited us on the 3rd of June. He Chief of Naval Staff directed me to lead this team in actualising some of the promises made to you when you visited the Naval headquarters.”

“Our project standing on 12 hectares of land, is a multi-purpose project. We are moving our Desert Warfare of our Special unit to Kano Your Excellency. This unit is highly trained in both United States of America and Britain. And they are recognized to be of best performance.”

“This is where we will use for a garment industry and other things that will be of significant benefit to the society.”

“We would like to develop a Barack, so that when the need arises we can defend ourselves and also the state. That will definitely help in improving the security of the state in particular and the nation in general.”

He requested that, the Chief of Naval Staff would want to deliver a lecture on Maritime in either Bayero University, Kano, for people here up North to understand the activities of the Nigerian Navy in the national scheme of things.

Ezkobe, a rear admiral in Nigerian Navy, requested another piece of land on behalf of the Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA) for the establishment of hospital in the state.

“Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA) is desirous of establishing a 200-bedded hospital in Kano. We also need to get a piece of land for this effort to see the light of the day,” he requested.

“Your Excellency we witnessed the tremendous development in your state. This is highly commendable Sir,” he concluded.

In his response, governor Ganduje appreciated the speed of the process for the visibility of the Nigerian Navy in the state, appreciating that, “We are so happy to have you here. I can see that the return match is so quick. This shows the level of seriousness from your part.”

“Your presence in Kano will definitely boost the morale of our youth in joining the Nigerian Navy. It will also improve our security of the state generally,” he stated.

“We are very much ready for all the requests you came with pertaining this and other projects for the development of the state. And for improving the security of our dear state. We are always ready.”

Concerning the Chief of Naval State Conference, Ganduje said the state would always be ready to see to the realisation of the proposed Conference, adding that, “For the Conference we will create an enabling environment for it to hold.”

“We will also facilitate for the proposed Maritime lecture by the Chief of Naval Staff in one of our universities. There is no doubt about this. Tell him he is always welcome.”

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