National Summit on protection of Nigeria’s Critical Infrastructure postponed till February next year

Dr. Alfred Chiakor (c), Secretary of the Summit Planning Committee, stressing a point during the media briefing. He is flankes by Principal Research Officer, Ashcraft Centre for Social.Science Research, Engr Audi Ekwu (l) and a representative of Cattigan Communications Ltd (Media Consultants for the National Summit), Mr. Tom Chiahemen (r).

By Paul Adaji (ABUJA) –

The National Summit on the Protection of Nigeria’s Critical Infrastructure, Monuments and Business Assets earlier scheduled for December 6, 2021 till early next year.

According to the Presidential Think-Tank on Defence & Security and Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, Abuja, Organisers of the summit, the event will now hold on Monday, February 28 and Tuesday March 1, 2022 at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Announcing the postponement of the summit at a media briefing in Abuja today, Secretary, Planning Committee, Dr. Chiakor Alfred, explained that after the formal unveiling of the National Summit on November 18, 2021, there had been a flurry of activities and intensification of engagement between the diverse Stakeholders.

Among such stakeholders are members of Nigeria’s Defence, Security and Intelligence Agencies; the Regulators of the diverse Sectors in the Oil and Gas, Telecommunications, Education, Transportation, Power, Financial Institutions, etc; Operators of the Assets; (iv) Investors/Owners of the assets; and (v) the Civil Society Organisations/Non-Governmental Organizations/ Pressure groups and other Special Interest Groups within the general spectrum of the Society.

“In the course of these robust engagements, we were, unfortunately, inundated with complaints by some of the Stakeholders that they were being left out,” said Dr. Chiakor, who is the Chief of Strategy, Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, one of the organisers of the summit.

He said: “In the course of these engagements, we were amazed at the interests shown by all Stakeholders to the Summit. We also discovered unfortunately that several critical Stakeholders were not invited. Some lamented that the timing of the Summit was not convenient, considering that most of the corporate Organizations are winding down their operations for the year. The MDAs complained of defending their budgets at the National Assembly and would like to be given opportunity to participate. Even the lawmakers complained of the uncompromising schedules at this time.

“Having aggregated those concerns, we saw the compelling need to postpone the Summit to a more convenient date. This will also give us the leverage to reach out to the other Stakeholders who were not invited, but whose participation and inputs are of utmost importance in enriching the proceedings and priorities of the Summit.”

It would be recalled that the Chairman, Presidential Think-Tank on Defence & Security, Maj Gen Abdulmalik Jibril (Rtd), who also doubles as the Chairman, Planning Committee, accompanied by AVM Dick Iruenabere (Rtd), Maj Gen AT Umaru (Rtd), Cdr MD Yagdah (Rtd), Air Cdre AA Balogun (Rtd), Capt A Chiroma (Rtd), AIG H Fadairo (Rtd), and other members of the committee, had on November 18, 2021, formally unveiled the project to the public.

Described as a high priority project that aims to engender Stakeholder synergy for real-time management solutions and systemized rapid response strategy, the National Summit also aims to harness expert/operational knowledge and country-wide technical support to enhance threat mitigation and desired security outcomes; and explore further capabilities in the fight against banditry, kidnapping and other emergency recoveries.

According to Maj Gen Jibril (rtd), “this is in alignment with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to the Armed Forces, Intelligence and Security establishments, business owners as well as to all residents of Nigeria to work in concert to “reducing the vulnerability of the Nation’s Critical National Infrastructure to threats and hazards, on the one hand, and improving the resilience of such critical national infrastructure by strengthening their ability to withstand and recover from disruption.”

He added that this would involve a number of measures ranging from Physical protection to prevent damage or disruption;Building a level of reliability into them so that they can continue to operate even after an attack and; Ensuring that there are back-up systems; to Putting in place organisations that can rapidly respond effectively to threat events to enable such infrastructure recover quickly from disruptions.

At the media briefing today, Dr. Chiakor emphasized that the Summit was all about “building multi-Stakeholder confidence, synergy and capabilities with the view to engender investor confidence; encourage cross fertilization of ideas; stimulate Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria’s productive Sectors as canvassed by Mr President at different international fora; and also boost capital growth and turnkey business development.”

Leave a Reply