By Chiemelie Ezeobi
Renowned security expert and the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu, yesterday lamented the high cost incurred for the incessant loss of infrastructure to economic saboteurs such as crude oil thieves, petroleum pipeline vandals, electricity and telecommunications cable thieves.
While commending the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for its passionate and relentless fight against the economic saboteurs, he called for increased funding of the agency in order to protect Nigeria’s critical infrastructure.
He made this call while moderating at the final plenary session of a two-day stakeholders forum on Protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure organised by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
He said, "The critical cost of the loss of the destroyed, stolen or compromised infrastructure and assets in Nigeria are too high and as such, the nation faces a certain economic downturn if the damage to these infrastructure persist at its present rate.
"With an estimated loss of 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day to oil thieves and saboteurs, the Federal Government should as a matter of national security emergency further empower the civil defence corps to curb infrastructure attacks in partnership with other security agencies"
Ekhomu said the use of security forces constituted only one component of the asset protection equation, adding that such involves the integration and interoperability of personnel, equipment and technology, and policies and procedures.
While stating that the present detection technology was not being sufficiently employed in critical infrastructure protection, Ekhomu said the policy environment was weak.
He therefore called on the appropriate authorities to make use of advanced analytical methodologies, which would ensure that these assets receive layered protection or concentric circles of protection in order to be adequately safeguarded from malevolent individuals.
He also urged the Federal Government to conduct vulnerability assessment of its critical infrastructure assets nationwide in order to forestall attacks, adding that there was need to adopt robust models in assessing the vulnerability of the assets.