By Josephine Akaaer, Senior Special Correspondent
The South – South Zonal Stakeholders Summit with the theme: Domesticating Stakeholders Statutory Responsibilities In Protecting Nigeria’s Critical Infrastructures And Assets, will hold at the Atlantic Hall, Hotel Presidential, Aba Road – Port Harcourt, south south Nigeria from 25th through 26th July, 2022. Ahead of this summit, and in demonstration of its animation towards the achievements of a successful outing, an international press conference, under the auspices of the Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research, held recently At Aldgate Congress Resort, Plot 308 Abacha Road, GRA Phase 3, Port Harcourt.
According to the Chief of Strategic Planning and Innovations at Ashcraft Centre for Social Science Research and Head of Secretariat, Coordinating Committee of the Conference, Dr. Chiakor Alfred,the South – South Zonal Stakeholders Summit is a Private/Public Sector Partnership that aims at galvanizing responsibility and synergy for the prioritization of the Multi Agency/ Joint Risk Management Efforts to ensure the security and resilience of Nigeria’s critical national assets, in line with the Risk Management Framework of the National Protection Policy and Strategy 2022 (CNAINPPS 2022), and also, the Critical National Infrastructure Bill under consideration at the National Assembly.
“This Summit is a follow up to the successful convention held at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Monday 28 February and Tuesday, 1 March, 2022. The imperative to domesticate the proceedings at the Zonal levels and Host Communities forms the basis of this Summit,” stated Dr. Chiakor .
Chiakor provides the background for the summit: “The last two decades have demonstrated clearly that the nature of threats to Nigeria’s security have changed significantly. Structural challenges, such as the systematic vandalisation, 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.
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 rampancy and intensity of the vandalisation and destruction of Nigeria’s infrastructures and assets prompted the call to arms by His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR – President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Armed Forces, Intelligence and Security Establishment and all Nigerians to see it as a patriotic duty to ensure maximum vigilance and shared responsibility in the protection and security of these Assets and platforms at all points in their life-cycle….”
“These projections of the Summit are therefore, consistent with the provisions 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 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.
“To achieve the projected outcome and also sustain confidence building, diverse Stakeholders are mobilized to discuss the challenges impacting the integrity, operations and security of these critical infrastructures and Assets and also seek possible solutions and suggestions. The Stakeholders being mobilized to the Summit include but are not limited to: Nigeria’s National and State Legislatures; the Armed Forces, Security and Intelligence Agencies; Statutory Regulators in the diverse Sectors of Nigeria’s productive economy; Investors/ Business Owners; Operators of the Infrastructures and Assets; Professional and Civil Society Organizations; the Traditional Institution, Socio Cultural and Pressure Groups, etc.
“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 & management, regenerate confidence in securing Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria’s productive Sectors; and also boost capital growth and turnkey business startups and development.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, 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 time also to live the slogan that says “if you see something, say something. If you hear something, do something”
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.”