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Economy: Minister, ONSA urge security stakeholders to protect critical national assets and infrastructure

Photo Collage of Some Nigerian Critical National Assets and Infrastructure

*Nigeria’s Minister for Interior, Office of the National Security Adviser, and other stakeholders affirm the survival and security of every country and quality of life of its citizens largely depend on the functionality of its critical national assets and infrastructure

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In a strategic move to ensure continued well being and security of Nigerians, the Federal Government has urged security stakeholders to safeguard Nigeria’s critical asset and infrastructure.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Honourable Minister for Interior, and Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) stated this at the Critical National Assets and Infrastructure (CNAI) and the National Protection Policy and Strategy (NPPS) 2023 Validation workshop Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports the representatives of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as operatives of different security organisations attended the workshop.

Aregbesola noted that protection of the country’s assets would ensure development of Nigeria. .

As the CNAI is diverse, the Minister said the stakeholders needed to brainstorm on the policies guiding it alongside how CNAI affected the duties of security agencies.

He stressed the need to checkmate the roles security agencies and stakeholders played in securing CNAI in the West African country.

According to Aregbesola, it is imperative to know how security agencies plan the implementation of strategies guiding CNAI protection.

The Minister also stated: “We expect a fantastic outcome; so, your contributions in this workshop must come out of your experience in areas we believe are critical to the well being and security of Nigerians.

“Whether with this government or the incoming administration, the Federation Executive Council will find out if this document has gone through critical evaluation and contribution before approval.”

Survival, security of life of Nigerians depend on quality of CNAI: Monguno

In his remarks on the occasion, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd.), National Security Adviser (NSA), said the meeting was to ensure the full implementation of all aspects of the National Security Strategy.

Monguno, represented by Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Ndalolo, Principal General Staff Officer at ONSA, indicated that the document was being presented to relevant stakeholders to enable them make observations and inputs to facilitate seamless implementation of the document when approved.

The NSA stated: “As we know, the survival and security of every nation and the quality of life of its citizens largely depend on the functionality of its critical national assets and infrastructure.

“Any attack on these assets and infrastructure will have adverse effect on national security.”

Monguno also disclosed that “contemporary concerns for the security of national infrastructure became more prominent in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States.

“Since that gruesome attack, the United States and many other countries have taken necessary steps to identify critical national assets and infrastructure with the aim of designing appropriate policies and strategies to secure them.”

The UN Security Council Resolution 2341 placed premium on countries to prioritise the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure, says he.

The NSA further noted that Nigeria had since 2009 suffered immense loss of lives and property due to activities of terrorists and other criminal elements across the country.

The document had identified and sectorised Nigeria’s critical national assets and infrastructure domain into 17 sectors, as well as prioritised their protection into three broad areas, he stated.

The areas according to him are Lifeline, Life support and Life enhancing sector groups.

The document being validated, he said, as well explained in detail how to achieve the prioritised protection of the critical national assets and infrastructure.

The NSA said this was necessary as various criminal and terror groups in Nigeria sometimes attack assets such as schools, mosques, churches, hospitals, bridges, power towers and telecommunication masts.

Our legal, policy approaches to CNAI protection -NSCDC Chief

Speaking at the forum, Mr. Ahmed Audi, Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), reiterated that the Corps is the statutory lead agency in the protection of CNAI.

Audi, said the “gathering is aimed at completing the multi-stakeholder engagement process for CNAI-NPPS 2023.

“This document being presented for validation is in full compliance with the dictates of the aforementioned Security Council Resolution.

“We are taking bold steps to reform the legal and policy approaches for the protection of CNAI in alignment with national developmental aspirations, global trends and good practices.”

The NSCDC Commandant General described the document as an additional boost which could not have come at a better time, considering Nigeria’s emerging security threats.

He noted: “We will strive to bridge this gap and threats to CNAI that takes us two steps backwards when we take one step forward.”

According to NSCDC, the agency would continue to effectively synergise with the Military, Police, government agencies and other relevant critical stakeholders to adequately safeguard Nigeria’s heritage.

Audi, therefore, urged participants to constructively criticise information in the document, while productively inputting to tackle insecurity.

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