ALUU 4: The Need for a National Emergency Telephone Number

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  • Sunday, 14 October 2012
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  • Nosagie Nosa-Ero
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  • The US emergency number "911" is the universal emergency number for everyone in the United States. In 2000, approximately 150 million calls were made to 911, according to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). If you were born in the 1960s or later, 911 was ingrained in you during childhood, and those born prior to 1968 have been exposed enough to 911 that it has become second nature.

    Fast-forward to 2012,  The number "911" has become to life saving tool for every American citizens; disasters have been averted, lives have been saved, criminals caught and prosecuted. While this sounds appealing to the ear and gives every American citizen a fresh brew of hope on their security, I feel Nigerians too could share similar memories of how one phone call turned the dynamics of a disaster. Unfortunately, such a thing does not exist, and even if there was, there is a hundred percent guarantee that you would never get help when needed. A norm that has become a Nigeria trademark.

    The Need for a National Emergency Telephone Number
    Image Credit: Vanguard
    After the gruesome murder of four innocent Nigerian citizens in Aluu, and watching the video my self, seeing the cruelty of man's heart and barbaric nature of some Nigerians, alot of things went through my mind. After several days pondering on the issue, then I read the story of how efforts to save one of the boys were aborted. Quickly, it dawned on me that there was a major lacuna between the people and our security operatives.

    In the story as given by Llyod’s mum; one of the victims mother. There was more than enough time to stop the barbaric killings. Apparently, the man who was sent to salvage the situation was clueless and helpless due to the marmot crowd he met. I thought, should this be other nations where things work and government not looting tax-payers money,  a simple but yet fundamental telephone number would be in place to guide against acts like this.

    In the end, lives have been lost, families shattered and dreams destroyed. Nigeria is still the same, nothing is changing anytime soon since every successive government prefers to thread on the same path that leads to failure.

    A Brief Summary of the number "911"

    On February 16, 1968, Alabama Senator Rankin Fite made the first 911 call in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama. The Alabama Telephone Company carried the call. A week later, Nome, Alaska, implemented a 911 system. In 1973, the White House's Office of Telecommunication issued a national statement supporting the use of 911 and pushed for the establishment of a Federal Information Center to assist government agencies in implementing the system.

    After its initial acceptance in the late 1960s, 911 systems quickly spread across the country. By 1979, about 26 percent of the United States population had 911 service, and nine states had passed legislation for a statewide 911 system. Through the latter part of the 1970s, 911 service grew at a rate of 70 new local systems per year, according to the NENA. Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population had 911 service by 1987. In 1999, about 93 percent of the U.S. population was covered by 911 service.

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