Dambazau, Lagbaja call for societal efforts in protecting critical national infrastructure

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

A former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, has advocated for a whole-of-society efforts towards effective protection of the nation’s critical assets and infrastructure.

Dambazau made the call while delivering the graduation lecture for participants of Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) Course 7/2023, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The title of the lecture is “Coordinating Mechanism for Effective Protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure in Nigeria”.

He said that national critical assets and infrastructure were the backbone of any nation which must be protected to drive national development.

Dambazau said no matter how sound a country’s economic policies are, without valid assets and necessary critical infrastructure, implementation would merely be a dream.

According to him, critical assets and infrastructure are sources of strength for any nation.

They must be protected against attacks, misuse or abuse, criminal conduct, unfair treatment, recklessness and negligence, disasters, sabotage, among others, he added.

The former army chief said Nigeria has infrastructure deficit, as captured in the country’s Vision 20-2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

He however said while it was the responsibility of the military to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, the police and civil defence have the primary responsibility of maintaining law and order, securing lives and properties.

“There has to be some kind of mechanism, whereby there will be synergy among all the security agencies and even the private sector, and individuals, so that everybody is able to contribute to that effort.

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“There is also the aspect of culture, whereby you find that it is as if it has become a culture among Nigerians to vandalise national infrastructure.

“Like the second Niger Bridge which was commissioned just recently and some people have gone to start removing some of the important parts of the bridge.”

According to him, Nigeria also needs a very strong criminal justice system to deal with that.

”It is not the military that will go after justice, but the police, to ensure that anybody caught is prosecuted and punished.

“What we are here for is to encourage a kind of synergy among the security agencies and other Nigerians including the private sector, to ensure that we protect the assets and infrastructure for national development.”

In his speech, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, charged the participants to conduct further research on the culture and attitude of the people towards securing national assets and infrastructure.

Lagbaja said it behoves on all Nigerians to protect critical national assets and infrastructure, which were necessary for increased investment in various sectors.

According to him, the government should invest more on the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and the Police, to enable the two organisations to efficiently and effectively protect national assets and infrastructure.

The Commandant, Army War College Nigeria (AWCN), Maj.-Gen. Ishaya Maina, said the lecture was part of activities lined up by the college for the graduation of its course 7 participants.

Maina said that AWCN was established in 2017 as the highest professional military education institution for the Nigerian army to conduct operational level training for higher management personnel in the defence sector in Nigeria.

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He said that the college had within six years of its existence, trained outstanding operational level senior military officers, who were making significant contributions to military operations across the country. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Deborah Coker/Maharazu Ahmed

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