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Senate reinforces legal status for national emergency number 112

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Nasiru Yusuf

Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, The Senate, has taken further steps towards strengthening the legal status for the country’s National Emergency Number 112, being implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) though it’s Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).

KANO FOCUS reports that the Senate Committee on Communications recently organised a one-day public hearing where stakeholders gathered to make valuable contributions and observations on two bills by the Senate Committee on Communications.

These according to statement sent to KANO FOCUS by NCC’s spokesperson Ikechukwu Adinde are the Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021 and the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, being sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

The emergency number bill passed the second reading on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 and the recent Senate public hearing on the bill was to have extensive discussion towards making the bill more robust to ensure a more effective, uniform and well-coordinated national emergency number 112, when it is finally passed into law, similar to the 999 emergency number in the United Kingdom and 911 in the United States.

Speaking at the public hearing, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, stressed the desirability of the passing of such a bill into an Act of national Assembly, adding that the critical role of communication in modern day, especially in handling emergency situations cannot be over-emphasized.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Oluremi Tinubu, said the bill, when passed, will establish the Nationwide Toll-Free Number as a primary emergency number and contact point for all emergency services in Nigeria, thereby harmonizing the various emergency numbers in the country into one uniform number while, at the same time, empowering the NCC to supervise and ensure compliance.

Represented by his colleague, Odebiyi Akinremi, Amosun said the bill seeks to make 112 the Emergency Number of Nigeria, stating that “this will enable citizens have access to quick and timely response in respect of all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, fire outbreaks, burglary , medical emergencies and so on’’.

Also speaking, the Minister of Communications and Digital economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, commended the Senate for organizing the public hearing.

The Minister said while NCC had established functional ECCs across 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, efforts are in top gear to ensure ECC is established in the remaining 13 states of the Federation for the processing of the emergency calls through the 112 Number.

At the public hearing, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, made a number of valuable recommendations that will make the bill, which he said might be cited as the ‘National Emergency Communication Act, 2021’ when passed into law, more effectual in terms of board composition, scope as well as ability to accommodate emergency services by different statutory and regulatory agencies.

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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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NCC begins review of telecoms license structure

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has initiated the process for the review of existing licensing structure in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. 

KANO FOCUS reports that an important step towards achieving this was taken recently by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta when he inaugurated an in-house Standing Committee to carry out the task.

In a statement sent to KANO FOCUS by commission’s spokesperson Ikechukwu Adinde, Danbatta, while inaugurating the Committee, said the need for the review of the existing license structure was informed by the wide range of technological advances, convergence of technologies and services which have characterized the global telecoms space over the years, and which impact is increasingly being experienced in Nigeria.

According to him, the current license structure is almost 20 years old, hence the need for an urgent review of the existing license pattern to reflect new licensing trends in line with international standards while providing opportunities for improved revenue for government.

“Therefore, it is evidently clear that this Standing Committee, drawn up from competent hands in various departments of the Commission, is perfectly suited and capable of addressing the enormous task of reviewing the existing license structure of  telecom licensees in Nigeria,” he said.

While noting that the work of the Standing Committee will be carried out in phases, Danbatta said effective delivery of the Committee’s task will help the Commission to institute a process, which will culminate in the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories.

These, he said, will include licensing fee, as well as identification of the limitations of the various license categories, with a view to clearly determining licenses that should be phased out or amended.

Specifically, Danbatta outlined Management’s seven-point deliverables from the Committee to include a comprehensive review/report on existing licenses; report and recommendations on consultative fora; and report on recommended new license undertakings.

Others include a report on recommended amendment to license fees and durations; a report on benchmarking of license with similar jurisdictions, a report on the impact of certain licenses on other license holders.

The Committee is also expected to recommend solutions as well as the develop updated regulatory framework for new and amended licenses as the case may be; and a final report on the project with all recommendations.

Also speaking during the inauguration of the Committee, the Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC and Chairman of the Committee, Mohammad Babajika, assured the Commission’s Management of the Committee’s resolve to deliver on the terms of their assignment.

At the end of the Committee’s assignment, and following due consultations with industry stakeholders, the Commission envisages a new draft framework for new and amended licenses.

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