By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Presidential Think-Tank on Defence and Security has expressed determination to engage relevant stakeholders in a bid to enhance the protection of Nigeria’s critical infrastructure across the country.
Its Chairman, retired Maj.-Gen. Abdulmalik Jibril, stated this at a news conference on the planned National Summit on Protecting Nigeria’s Critical Infrastructure, Monument and Business Assets on Thursday in Abuja.
The text of the briefing was presented by retired AVM Tomboiyi Dick-Iruenabere, a member of the Think-Tank.
Jibril said that the national summit being organised in collaboration with Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, would hold from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7.
He said the summit was in response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s call to the armed forces and security agencies.
Jibril said the call was for them to work towards reducing the vulnerability of the nation’s critical national infrastructure to threats and hazards.
He said that Buhari also directed the improvement of the resilience of such critical national infrastructure by strengthening their ability to withstand and recover from disruption.
According to the chairman, this will involve a number of measures ranging from physical protection to prevent damage or disruption.
Jibril added that it included building a level of reliability into them so that they could continue to operate even after an attack.
He said that critical national infrastructure consisted of facilities, systems, sites, information, people, networks and processes necessary for a country to function and upon which daily life depended.
According to Jibril, it also includes some functions, sites and organisations which are not critical to the maintenance of essential services.
“They need protection due to the potential dangers they can pose to the public in the event of an emergency,” he said.
Jibril said the summit was to get owners of such critical national infrastructure to network with experts to bring whole-of-society perspectives to bear in contributing to the development of policy.
According to him, the choice of topics and the quality of resources persons scheduled to make presentations is a reflection of the seriousness attached to the summit.
“We are seeing agitations for all sorts of causes easily turning violent and what these non-state actors readily focus on are humans and some of these critical national assets.
“Also, vandalisation 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.
“Such actions undermine investor confidence; inhibit the drive for Foreign Direct Investment 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 and development is either stagnated or declines.
“We are seeing these in virtually all the geopolitical zones, therefore, a grave impact on our collective national interest,” Jibril said. (NAN)