With support from Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and in partnership with private security governance observatory and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), African Law Foundation (AfriLaw) has convened a Private Security Governance forum for the Northwest Zone in Kano aimed at strengthening the security sector in Nigeria
The forum tagged “raising awareness and discussion on challenges and opportunities presented by the private security sector as well as ways to strengthen its governance in a multi-stakeholder approach in Nigeria” was part of activities to strengthen private security regulation and oversight in Nigeria.
In his opening remarks, the Founder and Chief executive Officer of African Law Foundation, Barrister Okereke Chinwike said there are many challenges facing the sector but poor remuneration is a serious issue facing private security workers, adding that “a multi-sectoral approach is very important to solve these challenges”.
He said: “The ministry of interior is committed to improving the private security sector, that is why stakeholders are brought here together to rub minds with the hope to make recommendations to a lasting solution for security issues in the country.”
The National President, Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN), Wilson Esangbedo said the event is the third in the series of activities by AfriLaw to strengthen private security governance across the country.
He said: “The challenges captured in the baseline study on private security governance in Nigeria by the “Private Security Governance Observatory”, ranging from operational standards, regulatory and legal frameworks, working conditions and welfare, professional misconduct and malpractice to human rights violation are actually true.”
“I must say that part of our problem is the legal framework that we are operating under,” he added.
Esangbedo said the legal framework in operation is the act of 1936 and part of the problem was that it was enacted without the input of operators, but that is being corrected now. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps with the supervisory ministry of interior affairs and ALPSPN have formed a committee with other stakeholders from the ministry of justice to look at the gaps in the 1936 regulatory act.
In his welcome address, the Commandant General of NSCDC, Abdullahi Muhammadu Gana represented by the Kano State Commander, Abu Abdul Tambuwal said as a regulatory body, NSCDC provides regulatory processes that guides the operations of private security outfits and recommend to the Hon Minster of Interior Affairs for registration, participation and licensing.
“NSCDC plays a regulatory role to supervise, train, assess environment and to guide in terms of renumerations,” he added.
The Commandant General reminded private security operators that the level of NCSDC commitment is to encourage and support them in their practices.
Adding that “we assess the level of compliance and bring defaulters to book with a view to take proper action”.
The duty of the NCSDC is also to strengthen the industry with a view to improve the capacity of private security outfits and to make sure they are in total compliance with directives and regulations governing private security operations.
Parts of the issues that were discussed at the meeting include a presentation of the baseline study on private security governance in Nigeria report. It was facilitated by Nura Iro Ma’aji from Bayero University, Kano.
Nura talked through the framework, challenges and gaps in the report and noted that with all the government security agencies and private operators, Nigeria is one of the least peaceful countries in the world.
Panel discussion at the forum dwell on key challenges and opportunities in the private security sector in Nigeria from perspective of different stakeholders and reflected on the consequences of Covid-19 crisis on the governance and operation of the industry.
Barr. Okereke Chinwike of AfriLaw took participants through “Promoting good practices: International standards and initiative available and capacity building opportunities” referencing “The Montreux Document”.
Some participant at the forum bear their minds on private security governance in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer, Mikiya Security and Logistics, Auwalu Mudi Yakasai said: “The meeting came at the right time in view of the need for improved security nationwide arising from the recent EndSARS violence.
“It is expected that the meeting would avil participants with the knowledge o how to benefit from the various intervention programs by the federal government to cusionthe naegative effects of covid-19,” he added.
The State Coordinator, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Fatima Ahmed is of the opinion that due the insecurity of the nation, it is imperative and utmost importance that the security framework needs to be revisited.
She said: “my take on the meeting is that, there is no better time than now to address the private security governance in Nigeria, it is of paramount importance to recognize the regulatory body which is the NSCDC and to ensure that there is a legal framework guiding the private security governance sector.”
Managing Director, Covert Guards, Suleiman Shuaibu said: “it’s a timely intervention considering the current security realities on ground”. However, the question may be just why do we have these challenges with all the security agencies that are already in existence?
“I hope that this meeting will address these issues with a view to ensuring standardization of the practice in the country to enable private security companies truly contribute its quota in ensuring enhanced security”, he added.
This meeting will have achieved its objectives if at the end of the day we go away with the knowledge that scandalization of governance and participation in the industry is key to achieving relevance and understanding.