Presidential Think-Tank to hold national summit on protecting critical infrastructure

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By Chimezie Godfrey

The Presidential Think – Tank on Defence and Security is set to hold a national summit on protecting Nigeria’s critical infrastructure, monuments and business assets.

The Chairman of the Group, Maj-Gen, Abdulmalik Jibril made this known to Journalists at a press conference organised by the Presidential Think-Tank on Defence and Security and Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research (Summit Consultants), on Thursday in Abuja.

He stressed that the summit is in response to the call-to-arms of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Armed Forces, Intelligence and Security establishments, business owners as well as all Nigerians to work in synergy to reducing the vulnerability of the Nation’s Critical National Infrastructure to threats and hazards, among others.

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He said,”On behalf of the Presidential Think-Tank on Defence and Security & Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, I have the honour and privilege to welcome you all to this very important Press Conference, which is meant to formally announce to the public, through the media, the National Summit on: PROTECTING NIGERIA’S CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, MONUMENTS AND BUSINESS ASSETS, scheduled to hold at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, from 6th – 7th December, 2021.

“You may be wondering what this Summit is about? It is basically in response to the call-to-arms of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to the Armed Forces, Intelligence and Security establishments, business owners as well as to all residents of Nigeria 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.”

“Of course, this will 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, ensuring that there are back-up systems, and to putting in place organisations that can rapidly respond effectively to threat events to enable such infrastructure recover quickly from disruptions.

“You may be wondering what these critical national infrastructures are. Using the UK definition: National Infrastructure consists 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.”

Jibril pointed out that the Summit is 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.

“The choice of topics and the quality of Resources Persons invited scheduled to make presentations is a reflection of the seriousness attached to this Summit. Here: (a) Prof Niran Oluwaranti – Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, with the theme: Institutionalizing early warning systems and response architecture for threats to Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets.

“(b). Maj Gen Emeka Onumajuru DSS,PSC+,PSC (J),fdc+,UNISOM II- Deputy Commandant National Defence College, Abuja, with the theme: Systematizing a framework for Intelligence generation, information management and tracking against threats to Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets.

“(c). Prof UA Tar Head, Centre for Defence Studies and Documentation, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, with the theme: Domesticating frameworks and protocols for the stratification, codification and protection of national Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets

“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 stressed.

Jibril disclosed that members of the Presidential Think-Tank are also in consultations with some of the leading Security Experts and institutions with specialized capabilities to develop this nationwide seamless Enterprise Architecture to harvest wide a range of innovative technological options to achieve the desired solution outcomes.

He stressed that the security of lives, properties and national assets is the collective responsibility of all Nigerians and should be given priority attention.

According to him, 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.

“We trust therefore that as patriotic professionals of the fourth estate of the realm whose duties are impacted by the aggravated assault on our collective psyches, you will help disseminate the content of this press conference to a wide domestic and global audiences, through your various media channels, so as to create the necessary public awareness about this forthcoming National Summit,” Jibril said.

Other members of the Think – Tank include, Maj-Gen AT Umaru, AVM T Dick-Iruenabere (Rtd), R. Adm Harry Ngonadi (Rtd), HE Amb. Usman Baraya, Prof. U A Tar, Cdr MD Yagdah (Rtd), AIG H Fadairo (Rtd), Chief Ezekiel Afokonyo, Air Cdre A.A Balogun (Rtd), and Capt. A Chiroma (Rtd), among others.

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