Senate President David Mark on Monday advocated stiff punishment for anyone caught vandalising national assets and infrastructure irrespective of status to serve as deterrent.
Mark made the call in a remark at the opening of a two-day Stakeholders’ Forum held in Abuja on “Protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure (CNAI).’’
The form was organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) for stakeholders to interact and come out with measures to protect state assets.
Mark, however, noted that some of those charged with the responsibility of handling and protecting the assets colluded with vandals to destroy such infrastructure for selfish reasons.
The senate president, who was represented by Sen. Mohammed Magoro, Chairman, Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, said that the most critical asset of any nation was its human resource.
According to him, protection of assets must start from within not from without and the critical asset of any nation is its human resource.
“When you put these assets and infrastructure, they are handed over to certain persons but we have had experience in this country where internal connivance has brought down a number of them.
“Attack on them (assets and infrastructure) should be seen as an attack on Nigeria national interest; these are things that we will break or make us,’’ he said.
He called for adequate remuneration for security forces and others saddled with protection of the infrastructure to motivate them as some of them compromised due to poor pay.
Mr Aminu Tambuwal, the Speaker of House of Representatives, called for review of the national security policy to enable security agencies to adequately deal with vandalism of infrastructure and other challenges.
Tambuwal, who was represented by Rep. Umar Bature, Chairman, House Committee on Interior, noted that the policy had not been reviewed since 1986.
According to him, our greatest challenge now is how to respond to vandalism of assets and terrorism.
In his opening remark, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, the National Security Adviser (NSA), said that vandalism of infrastructure and terrorism were the two current prominent threats to national security.
“The potency of threat of terrorism, militancy, oil theft, vandalism and sabotage of critical national assets and infrastructure has now become unprecedented,’’ he said.
He noted that vandalism of infrastructure including oil facilities, telecommunication and power supply equipment was affecting government’s ability to provide adequate power and essential services to the citizenry.
“The level of crude oil theft, vandalism of telecommunication, power, and oil and gas infrastructure is serious drain on the economy and degrading the ability of government to provide services,’’ he said.
Dasuki called for the support of all stakeholders including government at all level as well as host communities in the protection of national assets and infrastructure.
He said that the approach to protect critical assets and infrastructure must be broadened, adding that this informed the convening of the forum. [NAN]