By Constance Meju
Rising cases of vandalization of national infrastructure and insecurity is creating serious concerns for stakeholders as it constitutes a threat to national security.
Efforts are now being made to address this through broad-based dialogues where collective perspectives and suggestions for solutions would be collated for policies that can be identified by all with a spirit of responsibility towards protecting national infrastructures and assets.
This was the main thrust of a recent press briefing on the South South Zonal Stakeholders Summit on Domesticating Stakeholders Statutory Responsibilities in Protecting Nigeria’s Critical Infrastructures and Assets billed for Presidential Hotel Port Harcourt, July 25-27.
Announcing the programme to some journalists iatAldgate Hotel, Port Harcourt, Dr Alfred Chiakor, chief strategist of Ashcraft Center for Social Science Research and coordinator of the summit, said the zonal summits are are follow-up to a national summit on the matter organized in Abuja.
He said the state of affairs demanded wider consultations especially as the nature of threat in Nigeria was assuming a worrisome dimension.
Said he: “This Summit is a follow up to the successful convention held at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Monday 28 February and Tuesday, 1 March, 2022. The imperative to domesticate the proceedings at the Zonal levels and Host Communities forms the basis of this Summit.
“The last two decades have demonstrated clearly that the nature of threats to Nigeria’s security have changed significantly. Structural challenges, such as the systematic vandalization, degradation and destruction of Nigeria’s critical national infrastructures, monuments and business assets; terrorism, insurgency, cyber-‐crimes, banditry, kidnapping, piracy, oil bunkering, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime, have created an entirely new security environment.
Nigeria now faces more security threats that have different characteristics from classic military conflict between states. The gross expansion of the contours that define security boundaries makes it imperative to recognize the eco-‐systemic dimensions of the threats that stare at us daily and in every form”.
He said the move was in response to a call by President Buhari on security and intelligent forces as well as all Nigerians, “to see it as a patriotic duty to ensure maximum vigilance and shared responsibility in the protection and security of these Assets and platforms at all points in their life-cycle”.
“The South – South Zonal Stakeholders Summit is therefore, a Private/Public Sector Partnership that aims at galvanizing responsibility and synergy for the prioritization of the Multi Agency/ Joint Risk Management Efforts to ensure the security and resilience of Nigeria’s critical national assets, in line with the Risk Management Framework of the National Protection Policy and Strategy 2022 (CNAINPPS 2022), and also, the Critical National Infrastructure Bill under consideration at the National Assembly” he added, which are, consistent with the provisions of the National Protection Policy and Strategy 2022 (CNAINPPS 2022); Petroleum Industry Act, 2021; the National Security Strategy Framework; and the Critical National Infrastructure Bill, 2021 currently under consideration at the National Assembly”.
The South – South Zonal Stakeholders Summit according to him, aims to intensify advocacy for Stakeholders Statutory Responsibilities. It shall also engender the re-engineering of appropriate legislations; and the strategic roadmap for harnessing expert knowledge and country wide technical support for deterrence, codified response strategy and recovery architecture to Nigeria’s critical assets.
Equally important is the desire to seek a renewed commitment to the challenges impacting the integrity of critical infrastructures and assets in the Region especially, the vandalization and destruction of its complex ecosystem of separate yet interconnected infrastructures in the Oil and Gas; Telecommunications, Transportation and Power Sectors.
‘To achieve the projected outcome and also sustain confidence building, diverse Stakeholders from the south south will be mobilized to discuss the challenges impacting the integrity, operations and security of these critical infrastructures and Assets and also seek possible solutions and suggestions.
The Stakeholders being mobilized to the Summit include but are not limited to: Nigeria’s National and State Legislatures; the Armed Forces, Security and Intelligence Agencies; Statutory Regulators in the diverse Sectors of Nigeria’s productive economy; Investors/ Business Owners; Operators of the Infrastructures and Assets; Professional and Civil Society Organizations; the Traditional Institution, Socio Cultural and Pressure Groups, etc.