Worried by the activities of bandits and terrorists as well as militant groups who have become more daring and recalcitrant in the destruction of national assets including Telecommunication facilities, Electricity power infrastructure and blowing up of oil platforms in the Niger Delta, the federal government is convoking a national summit on protecting Nigeria’s critical infrastructure, monuments and business assets.
Towards this end, the Presidential Think-Tank on Defence and Security headed by Major General Abdulmalik Jibril (Rtd), disclosed on Friday that the Summit will seek to engender diverse Stakeholder synergy for real time management solutions and systemized rapid response strategy as well as harness expert/operational knowledge and country wide technical support to enhance threat mitigation and desired security outcomes.
The Secretary, Planning Committee of the Presidential Think Tank, Dr. Chiakor Alfred who made this known in Abuja also said the committee would explore further capabilities in the fight against banditry, kidnapping and other emergency recoveries even as he emphasized that the summit earlier scheduled for December 2021 will hold on Monday February 28 and Tuesday, 1st March, 2022 at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Chiakor said, “The effective background to this Summit is the alarming rate and rampant vandalization and destruction of Nigeria’s critical infrastructure and monuments and the unmitigated attacks on critical assets in the Oil and Gas, Telecommunications, ICT, Maritime, Education, Railways, Banking and other resources in the Public and Organized Private Sectors.
“The intensity of the multifarious activities of criminals and other related vices like banditry, insurgency, kidnappings, cross border terrorism, and smuggling in arms, etc, constitute national security risks of untold proportions.
“This is in alignment with the directive of the President Muhammadu Buhari, to the Armed Forces, Intelligence and Security establishments, to work in concert to “reducing the vulnerability of the Nation’s Critical National Infrastructure to threats and hazards, on the one hand, and improving the resilience of such critical national infrastructure by strengthening their ability to withstand and recover from disruption”.
“A number of measures to attaining these objectives include Physical protection to prevent damage or disruption; Building a level of reliability into them so that they can continue to operate even after an attack; Ensuring that there are back-up systems; and Putting in place systems that can rapidly respond effectively to threat events to enable such infrastructure recover quickly from disruptions”, Dr. Chiakor said.
Throwing light on why the summit was moved to February, the Secretary said, “The Summit is all about building multi Stakeholder confidence, synergy and capabilities with the view to engender investor confidence; encourage cross fertilization of ideas; stimulate Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria’s productive Sectors as canvassed by Mr. President at different international fora, and also boost capital growth and turnkey business development.
Since it commenced work, there has been intensification of engagement between the diverse Stakeholders, comprising members of Nigeria’s Defence, Security and Intelligence Agencies; the Regulators of the diverse Sectors in the Oil and Gas, telecommunications, Education, Transportation, Power, Financial Institutions, Operators of 2 the Assets; Investors/Owners of the assets; and Civil Society Organizations/Non Governmental Organizations/Pressure groups and other Special Interest Groups within the general spectrum of the Society.
“In the cause of these robust engagements, we discovered unfortunately that some of the Stakeholders complained of being left out. In the cause of these engagements, we were amazed at the interests shown by all Stakeholders to the Summit.
“We also discovered unfortunately that several critical Stakeholders were left out. Some lamented that the timing of the Summit is not convenient, considering that most of the corporate Organizations are winding down their operations for the year. The MDAs complained of defending their budgets at the National Assembly and would like to be given opportunity to participate. Even the lawmakers complained of the uncompromising schedules at this time.
“Having aggregated these concerns, there is the compelling need to move the Summit to a more convenient date. This shall also give the Planning Committee more leverage to reach out to the other Stakeholders who were not invited, but whose participation and inputs are of utmost importance in enriching the proceedings and priorities of the Summit. Accordingly, the National Summit shall now hold on Monday, 28th February and Tuesday, 1st March, 2022 at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja”.
Some members of the Presidential Think Tank on Defence & Security as well as Planning Committee include AVM Dick Iruenabere (Rtd), Maj Gen AT Umaru (Rtd), Commodore MD Yagdah (Rtd), Air Cdre AA Balogun (Rtd), Capt A Chiroma (Rtd), Assistant Inspector General of Police H Fadairo (Rtd).