By Musa Baba Adamu
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday said that the National Toll-Free Emergency Bill presently before the National Assembly would establish a channel and put in place a structure to guarantee swift security response to Nigerians in times of emergencies.
This was just as he posited that the amendment of the Nigerian Postal Service Act would reposition the agency to provide efficient service delivery to Nigerians.
Lawan made these known in an address delivered to declare open a one-day public hearing on two bills by the Senate Committee on Communications.
The bills are: Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021; and the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency umber (Establishment) Bill, 2021.
According to the Senate President, the bills under consideration by the National Assembly, when eventually passed and assented into law, would bring about significant improvement to the country’s messaging systems.
Lawan said: “It is a great pleasure to be involved in this important public hearing, organised by the Senate Committee on Communication on Tertiary important Bills.
“The Bills are on the Nigerian Postal Service Act N127 (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021 and the Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and are to improve our messaging systems.
“We cannot undermine the place of communication in our lives, considering it’s ability to help us pass information around, not only for the development of understanding and knowledges, but for us to carry out physical responsibilities for social progress.
“The Nigerian Postal Service Act is particularly in focus for its ability to strengthen the regulatory capacity of that agency, aside from enhancing its facility to meet the aspirations of the people.
“The National Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021 is equally very important for offering citizens the outlet to freely seek assistance, in case of emergency, or for the prevention of incidences.
“We underline the public service role of government in the two bills, in view of government constitutional responsibility to work for the security and wellbeing of the people.”
Earlier, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Communication, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central) said the Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021, seeks to unbundle the agency, whose responsibility would be the provision of universal postal services in Nigeria.
She disclosed that the bill makes provision for the administration and planning of a national post code system in line with global standards for efficient mail delivery.
According to her, it seeks to establish the Universal Postal Service Fund (UPSF) to be applied for the deployment of subsidized postal services and infrastructure.
Speaking on the National Toll-Free Emergency bill, the lawmaker said that the piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) provides for the establishment of a nationwide primary emergency telephone numbers reporting of emergencies to the relevant agencies of government.
“The bill goes further to saddle the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of supervising, managing and implementing this bill and its provisions”, Tinubu added.
Sponsor of the bill National Toll-Free Emergency bill, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who was represented at the hearing by his colleague, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, in his remarks said the bill when passed and signed into law, “shall make 112 the emergency number of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and this number shall be free and uniform throughout the country.
“The 122 emergency number will enable Nigerians to have access to emergency service agencies for quick and timely response to all forms of emergency situations such as road accidents, fire outbreaks, burglary, medical emergencies, and recently we have kidnappings, banditry and so on.”