From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research has raised the alarm over the spate of vandalism and destruction of national assets in Nigeria, particularly in the oil and gas, telecommunications, transportation and power sectors.
The group, concerned about ending the menace, has unveiled plans to hold a zonal summit in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to domesticate stakeholders’ statutory responsibility in protecting Nigeria’s critical infrastructure and assets in the South-South.
Chief of Strategic Planning and Innovations, Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, Chiakor Alfred, who spoke at the event, said the summit would be a Private/Public Sector Partnership that aims at ensuring the security of Nigeria’s critical national assets.
Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Alfred said the summit was in line with the Risk Management Framework of the National Protection Policy and Strategy 2022 (CNAINPPS 2022), Petroleum Industry Act, 2021; the National Security Strategy Framework; and the Critical National Infrastructure Bill, 2021, currently under consideration at the National Assembly.
“The last two decades have demonstrated clearly that the nature of threats to Nigeria’s security has changed significantly. Structural challenges, such as the systematic vandalism, degradation and destruction of Nigeria’s critical national infrastructures, monuments and business assets; terrorism, insurgency, cyber-crimes, banditry, kidnapping, piracy, oil bunkering, drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime, have created an entirely new security environment,” he stated.
“Nigeria now faces more security threats that have different characteristics from classic military conflict between states. The gross expansion of the contours that define security boundaries makes it imperative to recognize the eco-systemic dimensions of the threats that stare at us daily and in every form.
“The South-South zonal stakeholders’ summit aims to intensify advocacy for stakeholders’ statutory responsibilities. It shall also engender the re-engineering of appropriate legislations; and the strategic roadmap for harnessing expert knowledge and country-wide technical support for deterrence, codified response strategy and recovery architecture to Nigeria’s critical assets.
“Equally important is the desire to seek renewed commitment to the challenges impacting the integrity of critical infrastructures and assets in the region, especially the vandalisation and destruction of its complex ecosystem of separate yet interconnected infrastructures in the oil and gas; telecommunications, transportation and power sectors.”
Speaking further, the group said diverse stakeholders would be mobilized to the summit to discuss the challenges impacting the integrity, operations and security of these critical infrastructures and assets and also seek possible solutions and suggestions.
According to Ashcraft, the stakeholders included National and State Legislatures; the Armed Forces, Statutory Regulators in the diverse sectors of Nigeria’s productive economy; investors/ business owners; asset operators, professional and civil society, the traditional institution, socio-cultural and pressure groups.
Alfred stated: “By building inter/multi-sectoral synergy, the summit shall engender stakeholders and citizens with shared responsibilities towards achieving the institutionalization of the road map and priorities of the policy frameworks crafted to provide deterrence, security and resilience of Nigeria’s assets.
“It is also the expectation of the conveners that the derivatives from the summit shall enhance knowledge leadership and management, regenerate confidence in securing foreign direct investment into Nigeria’s productive sectors; and also boost capital growth and turnkey business startups and development.”
“The security of lives, infrastructures, monuments and assets is the collective responsibility of every citizen, whether private or public. Issues of security, destruction of lives and property know neither religion nor ethnicity. We are calling on the partnership and support of 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.
“It is incumbent on us all therefore to engage robustly on how to deter and mitigate these challenges in a systematic and coordinated manner. This way, we can be sure of preserving our collective heritage and sanctity of our God-endowed resources, both human, technical and material.”