By Chimezie Godfrey
The Presidential Think-Tank on Defence and Security and Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, Abuja has announced the postponement of the National Summit on protecting Nigeria’s critical infrastructure, monuments and business assets to 28th February and 1st March, 2021.
This was disclosed in a press conference addressed by the Secretary of the Committee, and Secretary, Planning Committee, Dr. Chiakor Alfred on Friday in Abuja.
Alfred restated that the essence of the Summit is to find ways of curbing 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 Organised 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.
He therefore noted that the Summit is a high priority project that aims to engender diverse Stakeholder synergy for real time management solutions and systemized rapid response strategy; harness expert/operational knowledge and country wide technical support to enhance threat mitigation and desired security outcomes; and explore further capabilities in the fight against banditry, kidnapping and other emergency recoveries.
According to him, the summit is in alignment with the directive of the President Muhammadu Buhari, for 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.”
He added that this will involve a number of measures which 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.
“So, 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.
“After the Press conference on 18 December 2021, there has been a flurry of activities and intensification of engagement between the diverse Stakeholders, comprising (i) Members of Nigeria’s Defence, Security and Intelligence Agencies; (ii) the Regulators of the diverse Sectors in the Oil and Gas, Telecommunications, Education, Transportation, Power, Financial Institutions, etc; (iii) Operators of 2 the Assets; (iv) Investors/Owners of the assets; and (v) the 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 are amazed at the interests shown by all Stakeholders to the Summit. We also discovered unfortunately that several critical Stakeholders were not invited. 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 postpone 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, I wish to confirm to you that the National Summit is officially postponed. It shall now hold on Monday, 28th February and Tuesday, 1st March, 2022 at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja,” he said.