Lagos Slams 3-Year Jail Term On False Callers To Its Emergency Telephone LinesAyo Balogun, Featured, Latest News, News Monday, February 17th, 2014
Ayo Balogun, Lagos
The Lagos State Government has signed a bill into law recommending three years jail term to people who make false calls to its emergency dedicated phone number, 767 and 112.
The bill, signed into law by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos on Monday states that offenders would be liable on conviction to three years imprisonment or a fine of N500,000.
The bill is a Law to Establish the Lagos State Emergency Command and Control Centre, Regulate the making of Telephone Calls to the Centre and for Connected Purposes.
According to Section 14 (1) of the law, any person who knowingly gives or causes to be given a false alarm to a person acting on behalf of the centre or who uses emergency telephone lines in any way other than those stipulated in section 10 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years or in addition to any sentence imposed by virtue of this section, the court may order the offender to perform community service for such period as the court may determine.
In section 14 (2), the law says that that any person who misuses the telephone lines of any agency providing emergency services in the state commits an offence and liable on conviction to the same penalty as specified in subsection (1) of this section.
The law added that the centre may request the relevant telephone service providers to make available the call originator’s phone numbers and identification details to the centre where a determination is made that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the caller has persistently misuse an emergency telephone number.
Section 13 (1) of the law states that the centre might refuse any person, business or firm the right to access its emergency telephone numbers if it had reasons to believe that calls from that number would adversely affect the operations of the centre.
According to Section 14 (3), in addition to the penalties stipulated under subsection (1) and (2) of this section, on the application of the aggrieved agency to the court, the offenders shall be liable to pay to the agency the cost of any service deployed or action taken in response to the false call.
Under the law, where a person misuses or persistently misuses the emergency number of the centres, the person commits an offence under section 14 of this law and where upon information available to it, the centre believes that a person has misused any emergency number, the centre may give that person a notification under section 12.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye said these incidents of emergency telephone misuse were sufficient reasons for regulatory control as they made the system costlier and block the chance of genuine callers who were in need of urgent assistance from the emergency services and put them at avoidable risk.
“To prevent these malpractices, there is need for the state to provide a regulatory control over calls made to the emergency telephone numbers. It is in the light of this that the Lagos State Emergency Command and Control Centre was made.
“The law generally outlines the process for the exercise of the emergency response by the centre through speedily processing emergency calls received and taking urgent steps to respond to them by informing other safety and emergency service providers within and outside the State as may be required to provide an effective response to emergency situations,” he explained.
According to Fashola, while signing the bill into law, the 767 and 112 emergency lines were very important in emergency situations and that as such, the public must not be allowed to abuse them, stressing that the lines were not meant for the public to commend the centre or complain about neighbours making noise.
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