Against the backdrop of efforts to ensure the protection of critical national infrastructure, monuments and assets from attacks from criminal elements including bandits and terrorists, the federal government through the Presidential Think-Tank on Defence and Security is organizing a two day summit in Abuja.
Tagged the national summit on “Protecting Nigeria’s Critical Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets”, it will fashion out measures to put an end to constant attacks on and destruction of telecommunication facilities, roads, bridges etc.
Chairman of the Presidential Think Tank, Maj Gen Ahmed Jibril (rtd), who is also the Chairman, Summit Planning Committee, made this know at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
Speaking through a member of the body, Air Vice-Marshall (AVM) T. Dick- Iruenabere (Rtd), he said the Summit is a response to the call-to-arms of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Armed Forces, Intelligence and Security establishments, business owners as well as to all residents of Nigeria to work in concert to reduce “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.”
Jibril said this would involve a number of measures ranging from 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 and; Ensuring that there are back-up systems; to Putting in place organisations that can rapidly respond effectively to threat events to enable such infrastructure recover quickly from disruptions.
He defined the critical national infrastructures as consisting of “those facilities, systems, sites, information, people, networks and processes necessary for a country to function and upon which daily life depends.
“It also includes some functions, sites and organisations which are not critical to the maintenance of essential services, but which need protection due to the potential dangers they could pose to the public in the event of an emergency (civil nuclear and chemicals sites for example).”
“There are some parts of the National Infrastructure system that are judged to be critical to the functioning of the country. Those critical elements of Infrastructure facilities, virtual and physical systems, sites, property, information, people, networks and processes), the loss or compromise of which would result in major detrimental impact on the availability, delivery or integrity of essential services, leading to severe economic or social consequences or to loss of life.,” he added
AVM Dick-Iruenabere said, the Summit was about getting owners of such Critical National Infrastructure to network with subject-matter experts to bring their whole-of-society perspectives to bear in developing or contributing to the development of policy.
He noted that the choice of topics and the quality of Resources Persons invited scheduled to make presentations was a reflection of the seriousness attached to this Summit.
Among the resource persons area Prof Niran Oluwaranti – Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, under the theme: “Institutionalizing early warning systems and response architecture for threats to Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets”and; Maj-Gen Emeka Onumajuru, Deputy Commandant National Defence College, Abuja, who is scheduled to speak on the theme: “Systematizing a framework for Intelligence generation, information management and tracking against threats to Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets.”
Also, Prof UA Tar – Head, Centre for Defence Studies and Documentation, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, is scheduled to make a presentation under the theme: “Domesticating frameworks and protocols for the stratification, codification and protection of national Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets.”
On the timing of the summit, AVM Dick-Iruenabere said “our world has changed! We are seeing agitations for all sorts of causes easily turning violent…and what these nonstate actors readily focus on are humans and some of these critical national assets…vandalization and destruction of assets in the Oil and Gas, Telecommunications, ICT, Maritime, Education, Railways, Banking and other resources in the Public and Organised Private Sectors, etc.
“Such actions undermine investor confidence; inhibit the drive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and capital growth, and truncate real business development in all sectors of the productive economy.
“In other words, productivity drops, rise in out-of-jobbers, poverty increases, resentment and more violence…develop is either stagnated or declines. We are seeing these in virtually all the geopolitical zones, therefore, a grave impact on our collective national interest. No society will allow such hence this Summit.”
He disclosed that the Presidential Think-Tank was also in consultations with some of the leading Security Experts and institutions with specialized capabilities to develop this nationwide seamless Enterprise Architecture to harvest a wide range of innovative technological options to achieve the desired solution outcomes.
He said; “The security of our lives, properties and national assets is our collective responsibility and should be given priority attention. Issues of security, destruction of lives and property know neither religion nor ethnicity. We need the partnership and support of, and urge all Stakeholders, both in the Public and Private Sectors, with diverse political, religious and professional orientations to put aside all prejudices to help forge a common front to confront the monster that is threatening the integrity of our corporate existence as a people and as a nation.
“We also look forward to the robust participation and inputs of all Partners and Stakeholders to achieve this national endeavor. We have reached out to a few Individuals and Corporate Organizations for partnership and support. We are hopeful that they will consider this as a patriotic duty to our fatherland and contribute to the success of this event.”
Other members of the Think-Tak present at the press conference were: Maj Gen AT Umaru (Rtd), Rear Admiral Ngonadi (rtd), Ambassador Usman Baraya, Prof U A Tar, AIG H Fadairo (rtd), Cdr MD Yagdah (rtd), Chief Ezekiel I Afokonyo, Air Cdr A A Balogun (rtd) and Capt A. Chiroma (rtd), as well as the Chief Strategist of Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research (Summit Consultants), Dr. Alfred Chiakor.