The Federal Government (FG) on Tuesday vowed to protect nuclear materials and radioactive sources from getting into the hands of non-state actors that may use them for destruction and criminal activities.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Prof. Lawrence Dim noted that the authority’s 2017-2020 strategic plan that affords the nation the first comprehensive blueprint for tackling nuclear safety and security in Nigeria.
He noted that the agency has emplaced a regulatory control programme for nuclear safety and radiological protection regulation.
Dim spoke at Abuja during the opening session of information meeting for national nuclear security which theme was “Emerging security threats and the need for an integrated approach,” which NNRA organised.
The meeting whose participants were drawn from the Office of the National Security Adviser, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police, Department of State Security, Nigerian Immigration Service, among other security agencies, was meant for enhancing collaboration and fine-tuning strategies at securing nuclear materials and protecting lives and property.
He noted that by the NNRA activities, the issue of nuclear safety, security and radiation protection has become very topical mainly because Nigerians were now becoming more informed about the harmful effects of the misuse of ionizing radiation.
However, the NNRA Director General said: “Nigeria has been at the forefront of United Nations and International Atomic Energy (IAEA) efforts in ensuring that nuclear materials and radioactive sources do not fall into the hands of non-state actors and has over the years signed relevant security related international instruments like the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM), the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) and a host of others.”
Further, he stressed that Nigeria is at the forefront of enhancing national and international nuclear safety and security regime, citing that it is guaranteed through the NNRA’s effective regulatory control programme.
“It is our best hope of rebuilding trust and confidence, precise!y because it promises nobody, outside the national security framework. Without security, our efforts for a better Nigeria will be seriously compromised or will simply not succeed,” he said.
While delivering a paper on the theme of the meeting, the Director-General of the Department of State Security who was represented by Mr. Paul Afunanya, noted that there is growing use of nuclear materials and the concerns to secure it against use by non-state actors.
He said as the wind of democratic principles blows across the globe, there is a growing emergence of non-state actors who constitute a great challenge to security in the exercise of their perceived rights.
He canvassed that in building integration in the areas of handling nuclear materials, there is the need for training, peer review, collaboration, and exchange of information among agencies.
Earlier, the Director of Policy and Strategy, Office of the National Security Adviser, Umar Abba, said the office has been collaborating with NNRA to ensure the safety of lives, property and environment.
He expressed hope that the outcome of the meeting would help in invigorating the nation’s nuclear use information.
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