The Federal Government yesterday assured that it would protect nuclear materials and radioactive sources from getting into the hands of non-state actors, who are likely to deploy them in causing havoc and engaging in crimes.
Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Professor Lawrence Dim, said the agency has put in place a regulatory control programme for nuclear safety and radiological protection regulation.
Also, he disclosed that the 2017-2020 NNRA strategic plan offers the country the first comprehensive blueprint for addressing challenges of nuclear safety and security in the country.
Prof. Dim said this at the opening session of information meeting for national nuclear security with the theme: Emerging Security Threats And The Need For Integrated Approach, organised by the agency.
The meeting, whose participants were drawn from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nigerian Army, Navy, Police, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigerian Immigration Service, among other security agencies, was meant to enhance collaboration, fine-tune strategies at securing nuclear materials and protect lives and property.
He noted that through 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, Prof. Dim said: “Nigeria has been at the forefront of efforts by the United Nations and International Atomic Energy (IAEA) 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.”
Such instruments, he explained include the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM), Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), among others.
He stressed that Nigeria was at the forefront of enhancing national and international nuclear safety and security regime, adding that it was guaranteed through the NNRA’s effective regulatory control programme.
Speaking, Director General of the DSS, who was represented by Paul Afunanya, noted that the use of nuclear materials was on the increase and was concerned in securing them against their use by non-state actors.
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 safety of lives, property and the environment.