President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to all Nigerians to see the protection of the nation’s infrastructure as their innate responsibility.
The President made the appeal, Monday, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, when he declared open a two-day Stakeholders Forum on the Protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser. He noted the timeliness of the forum.
He particularly called on communities where these assets are situated to take more interest in their civic responsibility, saying that “by providing useful information, communities will be assisting the Security Agencies to apprehend criminals, and by so doing helping to guarantee their well-being and safety.”
President Jonathan, who said that his administration would continue to invest in critical infrastructure, such as electricity generation, transmission and distribution, oil and gas production, transportation and distribution, telecommunications, water supply, agriculture, public health, mass transit systems and financial services, decried the activities of some unpatriotic elements bent on destroying the nation’s commonwealth for their sadistic gains.
Represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, he, observed that the protection of the nation’s critical assets and infrastructure, from the activities of terrorist, vandals and saboteurs, which governments at all levels had invested much on, cannot be left in the hands of the security agencies alone.
“The assets and infrastructure being protected belong to the public and were installed for the welfare and convenience of the people. Hence, their cooperation, awareness and alertness are of great importance particularly in the provision of information to the security agencies,” he stated.
President Jonathan used the opportunity to commend the security agencies for their untiring effort in the protection of these infrastructure he however, challenged them on more synergy on inter-agency collaboration to tackle the menace, while also tasking them to “continue to review and reinforce existing strategies, in order to decrease response times, and increase deterrent and combative capacity.”
Similarly the President called on the private sector and other stakeholders to update their internal security policies and systems, while also calling on them to collaborate with security agencies to ensure the security of critical infrastructure under their management.
The Senate President, represented by the Chairman Senate Committee on Intelligence and Security, Senator Mohammed Magoro, noted that the human resource of the country was its most critical asset. He challenged those responsible for the management of these assets to be patriotic in the service of their fatherland.
The Representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairman House Committee on Interior, Hon. Umar Bature, stated that through legislation the National Assembly would empower relevant agencies to tackle the menace. He challenged the National Security Adviser to come up with a review of the National Security Act, established in 1986.
In his remarks the Minister of interior, Abba Morro, urged the Forum to come up with adequate sanctions against those engaged in these condemnable activities to serve as deterrent to others. Similarly, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, likened the activities of vandals to a moral equivalent of war, lamenting the loss of over 35 per cent of the nation’s power capacity to the activities of these elements.
Earlier the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), stated that the forum, which was the first ever to be organised was to deliberate on ways to adequately protect the nation’s critical assets and infrastructure. He stated that the forum was borne from a committee, comprising all stakeholders, empanelled to assess the nation’s critical physical and virtual infrastructure, belonging to both the public and private sectors that are susceptible to threats from vandal, terrorist and saboteurs, with a view to adequately protecting them.
The meeting which had the presence of the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam, also had in attendance several stakeholders from security agencies, the National Assembly and the private sector.