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The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), on Tuesday met to validate a new policy for the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.
The validation exercise involved key stakeholders who participated to review the Draft Critical National Assets and Infrastructure National Protection Policy and Strategy (CNAI-NPPS 2023).
In his remark, the chief host, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, stated that security stakeholders must ensure proper protection of Nigeria’s critical asset and infrastructure.
He added that, the terminology CNAI was broad and diverse, as such, there is need for stakeholders to brainstorm on the policies guiding it.
According to Aregbesola, it is expedient to upscale the roles security agencies and stakeholders play in securing CNAI, hence, the need to know how to implement the strategies guiding CNAI protection.
“We expect a fantastic outcome, therefore, your contribution 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 Federal Executive Council will still read to find out if indeed this document has gone through critical evaluation and contribution before approval,” he said.
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, said the meeting was to ensure the full implementation of all aspects of the National Security Policy and Strategy.
Monguno was represented by the Principal General Staff Officer, ONSA, Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Ndalolo.
He said the document was being presented to relevant stakeholders to enable them make observations and inputs to facilitate seamless implementation of the document when approved.
“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.
“Contemporary concerns for the security of national infrastructures 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.”
He added that the UN Security Council Resolution 2341 placed premium on countries to prioritize the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.
He said 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.
The areas according to him are Lifeline, Life support and Life enhancing sector groups.
He said that the document being validated explained in details 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.
Similarly, the Commandant General (CG), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, mni, OFR, reiterated that the Corps was saddled as the statutory lead agency in the protection of CNAI.
He explained that the document presented by the Corps for validation is in full compliance with the dictates of the United Nations Security Council Resolution which took years of concerted efforts, painstaking and extensive research to formulate and develop, with experts and multidisciplinary contributions from more than 95 countries of the world.
“Today’s 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,” he said.
Dr Audi added that, prior to its approval by the National Security Adviser, the document went through multi-level scrutiny and reviews by subject matter experts and urged participants at the workshop to take a critical look at the document with the same objectivity.
He noted that the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, to nip insecurity in the bud is yielding positive results, and the document is an additional boost which could not have come at a better time.
He pledged to work in synergy with the Military, Police, DSS and other Sister Agencies and Relevant Critical Stakeholders to adequately safeguard the CNAI.
“We will strive to bridge this gap and reduce threats to CNAI that takes us two steps backwards when we take one step forward.
“We will continue to effectively synergise with the Military, Police, sister agencies and other relevant critical stakeholders to adequately safeguard Nigeria’s heritage,” he said.
The CG urged participants to constructively criticise the document’s information while productively inputting to collectively tackle insecurity.