F.G. COMMITTED TO SAFEGUARD CRITICAL NATIONAL ASSETS AND INFRASTRUCTURE - AREGBESOLA

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At this time when our dear nation is going through enormous security challenges, this event could not have come at a better time. The threats to our national assets and infrastructure continue to escalate due to the situation of insecurity in the country. The good news is that this administration is totally committed to rooting out every threat to the corporate existence of our country’.

This were the words of the Minister, who was represented by the Perm. Sec, Dr. Shuaib Belgore at the Stakeholder’s Summit on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure in Nigeria, organized by the NSCDC and was held on the 27th -28th of September, 2021, at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja.

‘The FG, various states and Local Govts are currently investing massively in the development and construction of various infrastructure that would support employment generation, poverty reduction and the comfort and well-being of the Nigerian people. These assets and infrastructure would need to be protected. These aside, the FG is also very much aware of its responsibility to provide adequate security for the huge investment by the private sector. It is for this reason that every effort is being made to further support and strengthen the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps who has the mandate as the Security Agency with the responsibility for the protection of critical National Assets and infrastructure in Nigeria. In this regard the Act setting up the Corps will be amended to address the various limitations and bottle necks and allow the agency to be better positioned to achieve its very important mandate’. Dr Belgore said.

The Theme of the Summit is – ‘Synergy: Panacea to Effective Critical Assets and Infrastructure Protection’ thus the Permanent Secretary added that, the summit will be attended by critical stakeholders including security agencies, senior government officials, business executives, infrastructure owners and managers, leaders of trade associations, and private security guard companies among others, which is in line with government thinking that we need all hands to be on deck, and that every Nigerian must be properly educated about security issues and mobilized to play their individual role in the security and protection of our critical assets and infrastructure.

Dr Belgore gave remarks on collaborative efforts to help build the capacity of the operators in the sector, particularly NSCDC Personnel and the private security guard companies who would be required to play central role in the protection of these assets and infrastructure under the supervision of NSCDC. He stated that government will be very interested in the outcomes of this summit as it would be assisting to upgrade and hand in positive ideas that will greatly enhance envisaged reforms of the sector. Dr. Shuaib Belgore thereafter declared the Summit open.

The Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Ahmed Abubakar Audi PhD, MNI, who was in high spirit registered his pleasure to flag off the summit.

‘Critical National Assets and Infrastructure are assets, services and systems that support the economic, political and social life of a nation’, the Commandant General said. He also said the Summit came at the nick of time when there is a sudden upsurge in crime and threats to National Security occasioned by the criminal activities of terrorists, vandals and oil thieves, bandits, kidnappers, ethnic militias, border clashes, communal clashes, farmer/herders clashes and ethnic agitators.

The Commandant General applauded the Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his support to the success story of the Corps.

One of the Keynote speakers, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy – Isa Ali Pantami, stated that it's only collective effort that will ensure the effective protection of our National Critical Infrastructure. Pantami stated that one of the new challenges is Cyber crime and therefore advocates for a Multi-Sectoral factor to manage and protect Critical Infrastructure in the nation. He also confirmed that the Office of the National Security Adviser is for the first time coming up with an Executive order on Security.

Pantami advised that new technologies like drones, robotics, virtual realizations, 5G and Surveillance should be deployed since the present day challenge of securing critical assets has been technology driven globally.

Prominent personalities present at the event were Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja; David Okoror Sr. of the International Institute for Security and Governance Studies, Abuja; Dr Benito Eze, MNI, Assistant Commandant General ;Rep. of the National Security Adviser among others.

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