Tracking him for an interview was quite herculean but when he finally spoke, the depth of his security ingenuity cum prowess lightened the horizon. He vividly captured why private security must be given prominent place and how they can assist the government to deal with insecurity problems through intelligence sharing with other relevant security agencies. CHARLES KEKU, the Managing Director, Pahek Security Company in a chat with OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE reveals other security matters. Excerpt:
SECURITY is everyman’s concern, as the MD of Pahek Security company, how has it being?
Honestly, that is a very broad question but would do justice to it. There are different aspects of security. We have Personal, Corporate or National security. Basically, at Pahek Security Company, we engage in array of security solutions to individuals and corporate firms. We do consulting and security management, personal outsourcing and publish a security magazine. We also partner with UK security training global organisation (ARC International Academy) running ARC training services, management training in Nigeria as well as sell security equipment. However, with all the security issues plaguing the country presently, people are becoming more security consciousness with the understanding that your security is really in your hands.
How can private security practitioner assist in the fight against insurgency?
Well, this question has come up over and over again. I think we can assist in the area of intelligence gathering. The police or the military cannot be everywhere and many a time, it is the guards that are really everywhere and they have got the boots on the ground. However, I think there is a fundamental issue with the recognition of private security practitioners. There is the thinking or belief that security is military but it has gone beyond being military or an ex-military person. Nowadays, people are exposed to various security strategies and solutions not because they are military personnel but because they belong to one security association or are certificated in security management. What it requires is perfect collaboration to manage security in the country; it requires sharing intelligence with relevant security agencies. At the lower rung, most times when police raid a place and arrest people at random and the guards shows his identity card, the police doesn’t really care.
There are so many security associations in Nigeria; does that not breed conflict that could affect them even when government decide to engage them?
For private security, it is regulated by Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). However, private security is more than providing guard duties; it cuts across training, provision of equipment and consultancy. We have had conflicts but things are getting better and are working well with the regulators. Really, different associations have different objectives but things are moving in alignment.
You said police arrest people indiscriminately and don’t recognise security guards. At that level, is there any concerted effort to make the Nigerian Police understand that guards are also assisting in community policing?
I wouldn’t want to speak for the different associations, but want to comment as a person. We work with the police and navy especially those into maritime security. We assist in community policing because our duties are community inclined.
One of the fallout during the recently concluded ASIS conference was that private security guards are not well remunerated hence some of them steal where they are supposed to provide protection. What is your take?
I would want to agree with you that many a time, the guards are not well remunerated. This could arise from the contract entered. At the moment, the industry is not so standardised. There is really no regulation that says that this is the standard acceptable wage for a contract. People don’t even care much about security until something happens before taken action. We are reactive people rather than proactive. Even with the whole awareness, people still don’t appreciate security so much. They look at them as anyhow people. In most cases, people with low pricing are unregistered security companies. Sometimes, they don’t pay the guards even when the client has paid. When you hire well trained guards as registered companies, you should pay more.
I understand that NSCDC regulates registration and training. How do you checkmate these unregistered companies from given private security a bad name?
Again, there are plans. We want to ensure some degree of standardisation; create awareness and more relevance especially within the regulators and clients. We are working with the NSCDC to get the association to the level where it would be strong enough to have a certificate of good standing.
People call for arming private security guards. Is time ripe?
I don’t think so. It has not matured to that level. We have not and that is the more reason we have armed police compliment the guards. With the use of technology coupled with physical security, you act as deterrent to criminals.
How effective has security equipment been able to deter criminals getting access into a place?
Cable Circuit Television (CCTV) has been very effective. However, it is all about client’s education. There was a case of a client who installed a CCTV in his room and you had the cook most of the criminals are from inside was one of the most trusted domestic staffs in the house. When employer travelled, it was from the CCTV camera they saw how the guy went to their safe, got the key and opened it and stole some money they kept there. When they came back, they had seen the video on their I-pad. He was promptly arrested because there was very good evidence. It helps if you put it right. Security supposed to reduce losses. In fact, it helps you protect your losses because when your investment is protected, your losses are reduced or the other way round. Are you putting CCTV and forgetting lighting? For it to work effectively, it must be able to see.
One of your slogans is to provide effective security solution. How effective have you been able to provide these security needs?
No security is 100% water proof. However, every security strategy, solution or plan should always strive to reduce the risk to As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). There are some risks that are just there because of the nature of the business. Some call them business risk. The objective of any security plan is to reduce the risk identified as ALARP. We are also into protocol and exhort services.
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