PRIVATE SECURITY PRACTITIONERS TO POLICE, SSS

By NBF News
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In the face of growing security challenges across the country in recent times, the Society of Security Practitioners of Nigeria (SSPN) says the country can overcome it all if more and more Nigerians are involved in fighting the monster.

They affirm that, if the police and other security services would partner them, they can help in tackling the security challenges confronting the nation.

In the past years, the country has been faced with severe security problems. At the creeks of the Niger Delta Region, there have been security challenges posed by militants groups. First, they started by stealing crude oil from oil production facilities in the area and later added the kidnapping of foreign and local oil workers. They were on the verge of taking the trade to a class act by disturbing and disrupting maritime and oil exploration and exportation activities in the area before the Joint Task Force came to the rescue.

The wind of the kidnapping trade whose epicenter is still in the creeks, naturally drifted to other parts of the South-South and the South East. When it started, the allure was too tempting for many entrants to resist. Many young men and women abandoned their shops and their studies to join the blossoming business. Nothing anyone knew was as rewarding as the newfound trade. The major qualifications for going into it till now are, among other things, having a strong will to attack and viciously seize victims, torture, dehumanise them so as to force their relatives to part with huge sums of money as ransom. Again, this posed a serious security problem for all and sundry and took the concerted efforts of state security outfits before the cankerworm could be curtailed to some level.

And just when the country was about settling down to enjoy a breather after the wave of national security embarrassment in the South-South and South East, from Borno State on the north eastern fringe, another monster reared its head in the form of the self-styled militant group, Boko Haram which claims that western education is a sin. Since it took the country by storm, it has been targeting security operatives and killing innocent civilians. The country is still in its throes.

Everyone began to take the group more seriously after it bombed the Nigeria Police headquarters in Abuja. And having vowed to step up more attacks across the northern part of the country, it has over the weeks become a subject of fear and intense discussion.

Beyond these, Nigerians everyday are confronted by other threats to their lives, ranging from armed robbery, ritual murder to politically inspired killings and many more. Every now and then, gun-wielding hoodlums raid banks, private business and homes and cart away huge sums of money.

Various media channels are awash with announcements of missing persons who apparently were taken away after boarding public or private vehicles to various destinations. Survivors tell blood-clotting tales of their miraculous escape from hideouts where hundreds of Nigerians are slaughtered on daily basis in remote forests along Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Ikorodu in Lagos State, Ogun, Oshun, Delta and other states.

Besides, more and more Nigerians have been killed in the recent past and are still being wasted today for political reasons. Till this moment, it has been too difficult to either trace the killers or stop the trend.

It is against the backdrop of these mounting challenges that SSPN says it is prepared to partner the federal government and other security agencies in the country in fighting crime and criminality.

The group made the disclosure at a recent interactive session to herald the inauguration of its trustees and executive members at its head office at Elephant House on Ikorodu Road, Anthony Village in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, the president, David Akhimien explained that the 'SSPN is an embodiment of every individual and corporate organisation that is involved in the provision of industrial security in the country. It is a pressure group, which also sets up and maintains ethical standards in the practice of industrial security, and strives to put in place a measure of regulation within the industry.'

He noted that it was a wrong notion to think and believe that the responsibility of maintaining security in the country should be that of the police alone, insisting that everybody should be involved in the business.

'So in the face of rising security challenges all over the country, we are saying that there is need now for the police and other agencies involved in the business of security to partner us for effective policing of the country. We are asking for close collaboration not only with the police, but also with other paramilitary agencies that are responsible for the provision of security in the country.

'Against this background, we want to sensitise government to the need to put in place, a legal and institutional framework that will incorporate private security practitioners in effectively securing the country. It is possible to establish modalities regarding how this relationship will work.'

He admitted that in the area of man guarding, his society has been working closely with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), which was the sole government regulatory body. He, however, called for the widening of the horizon to include other agencies.

'I admit that we have over 90% collaboration with the NSDC concerning national security. But what we are saying now is that this horizon needs to be expanded so that information can be generated at out level and passed on to the appropriate bodies that can further work on them for the good of the country,' he said.

He noted that government had a very strong resource base in private organisations in the country since most SSPN members are retired and highly ranked military and police officers who are now in private practice. He therefore added that the government has a duty to tap from their experiences, saying that there is a lot the government and Nigerian people would gain by ensuring that this partnership is fostered.

Speaking in like manner, secretary of the society, Mr. Tony Ofoyetan noted that given the growing number of private security practitioners in the country at the moment, the sector had the manpower to provide a lot of information to the police and the NSCDC.

'Everywhere you go right now, there are many private security organisations in operation. Each and everyone of them has very many workers in its employment. What that means is that we have men who are everywhere. They work with the people; they monitor the movement of people and gather information which they pass on to their establishment. They too are a good resource the country can tap,' he stated.