Fashola Hands Over Security Command And Control Centre
…Warns against placement of fake emergency calls
Feb 28, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday handed over the Lagos Security Command and Control Centre at Alausa, stating that the Command Centre has brought about the collation of useful data that has been of tremendous benefit to the State's developmental programmes.
The State Governor who spoke at the Alausa location of the Command Centre added that it has enabled a breakdown of the data collected into the number of cases per month by local government and by type of emergency.
"Cases are categorised by medical emergencies, motor accidents, burglaries, traffic robberies, car thefts, vehicle fire outbreaks, building fire outbreaks, civil disturbances, collapsed buildings, abandoned cars, suspicious activity and kidnaps/missing persons.
This data is compiled on a monthly basis and provides the opportunity to study trends and deploy emergency services to the areas where they are needed most".
"No human endeavour will thrive where there is insecurity. The growth of the Lagos economy, and increasing investment attraction have been driven significantly by the maintenance of law and order and very high level of security, which gives assurance that Lagos is a secure place to live in and do business", the Governor stated.
He informed that calls to the toll free numbers of 767 and 112 have steadily increased from 417,000 calls in 2008 to approximately 32,000,000 calls recorded at the end of 2011, adding that over the same period, just over 62,000 incidents that were actual emergencies were escalated to the various Lagos State emergency support agencies.
He stated that the bulk of over 31 million calls were unnecessary or test calls that did not require any action from emergency services, adding, "In a population of over 18 million people, 62,000 emergencies may seem a good index; but we must do more through agencies like the Safety Commission, to reduce the number of emergencies"
Governor Fashola stated that In October 2011, out of 2,776,036 calls, 683,802 were fake emergency calls with the remainder being largely requests for services such as leaking pipes, potholes etc which should have been directed to the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies rather than to emergency services, adding that by November the number of fake calls had increased to 1,131,545 out of a total of 4,228,995 calls and keeps growing.
He said whilst the call centre operators are doing their best to answer as many calls as possible, the fact is that in a State that is home to 18 million people, it is practically impossible to attend to all emergency calls with the added burden of fake ones. "The implication is that help may be slow in coming to someone who genuinely needs it; perhaps even ourselves".
"As awareness has grown, plans have also been finalised to increase the call centre operator capacity to 100 operators per shift to cope with increased demand. This will of course provide the much needed gainful employment that our unemployed youths so desperately desire", Governor Fashola said.
He also acknowledged the cooperation of the GSM operators – Airtel, Glo Mobile and MTN who have provided the platform by which citizens are able to dial the Command Centre free of charge and also thanked MTN for its contribution of N150 million towards the construction of this state-of-the-art facility.
While appealing for restraint and a sense of good citizenship, the Governor also advised that all calls are recorded, and that in time government may decide to enforce the law against fake callers as a deterrent.
"Parents are particularly enjoined to educate their children, as young people constitute the highest number of offenders in this regard. We should all remember that emergencies are no respecter of persons. For many years, we had longed for a facility such as this. A simple 3-digit number that we could call in times of emergency. Your Government has provided it and it is maintained with your taxes. It is a life-saving device and not a toy", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola said the introduction of toll free 3-digit number in Nigeria is yet another example of how the government has refused to remain static and continues to explore and exploit Information Technology driven solutions to enhance its services to the citizenry.
Governor Fashola explained that one of the problems the administration noticed when it inaugurated the emergency 3-digit, 767 & 112 numbers was that the security, ambulances, fire service and other first responders encountered difficulties in locating points of distress because there were no street signs and this led to the embarking on the street signage programme to be followed by house numbering.
"We have since installed 23,000 (Twenty Three Thousand) signs in 54 Local Governments and the final phase to install another 23,000 (Twenty Three Thousand) signs in 3 Local Governments (Alimosho, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki) has been approved by the State Executive Council. Simultaneously, approval has also been given for the numbering of each house in Lagos State to assist with identification".
He reiterated that street signage are not just identity tags but are part of the security infrastructure and often make the difference between whether a life is lost or saved while urging everyone to co-operate with the enumerators and also to protect the street signs and house numbers from damage.
The Governor also cautioned all those who name streets after themselves without formal application and approval to desist because It is an infraction of the laws and a challenge to the efforts to maintain law and order, warning that Government would respond to the challenge very vigorously by bringing such persons to justice.
Governor Fashola recalled that when he first took office as the Governor in May 2007, he was aware then as he is now, that one of the primary responsibilities as a government is to ensure the safety and security of lives and property and to fight crime and renewed this commitment on the 29th of May 2011 when he was sworn in to serve and lead this great State for another four years, adding that the handing over is a tangible manifestation of those promises.
"Back in 2007, to demonstrate the seriousness with which we planned to enforce law and order, I set up a security committee headed by the former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, with a specific mandate to propose long-lasting measures that would reinforce security in Lagos State. The committee came up with several recommendations, one of which was the establishment of the Security Trust Fund (STF) in collaboration with the private sector, and the establishment of a Communication and Command Centre".
He stated that the first task of the Trust Fund was to revamp the Lagos State Police Rapid Respond Squad (RRS) and provide support to other agencies relevant for the enhancement of public safety and security and in addition set up a temporary communication room and call centre for the RRS pending the completion of this facility.
Said he: "The scope of the Communication and Command Centre was expanded in April 2008 with the introduction of the Lagos State Emergency toll free numbers - 767 and 112. The service commenced with 18 call centre operators at a centre in Surulere. From that location, emergency calls received from citizens were escalated to the various security and safety agencies for prompt response".
"In February 2009, an additional 15 call centre operators were added to the service at the RRS Command and Control Centre in Alausa. Upon completion of this facility, the entire operations were moved here on the 12th of July 2010 and an additional 97 operators were employed, bringing the total number to 120 operators, working 3 shifts, in batches of 40 operators per shift, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week".
Earlier, in his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Adebiyi Mabadeje said the centre will vastly assist the State Government in planning and preparing for challenges ahead to provide a better environment for its residents.
He explained that the Command and Control Centre will aid the centralization and coordination of activities of the Lagos State Ambulances Services (LASAMBUS), Lagos State Fire Service, Rapid Response Service (RRS), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and Environmental Task Force.
He added that the Centre will also assist in allowing the State get a clearer picture of the number of incidents (emergency, security or otherwise) which will lead to better service delivery and planning for the future.
The Governor later cut the tape to officially hand over the centre before undertaking a guided tour of the facilities in the Centre.
Prominent among those who witnessed the event were the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council, Chairman of the State Security Trust Fund, Chief Remi Makanjuola, former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, State Police Commissioner, Mr Yakub Alkali, Police Area Commanders in the State, the Asoju- Oba of Lagos, Chief Molade Okoya- Thomas and other stakeholders in the security sector.