Major General Yakubu Usman (Rtd), is the national Chairman of Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN). In this interview with selected journalists, in Abuja, speaks on how the Association will continue working with Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to check quacks and unregistered operators in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the country at large. Also, talks aboutALPSPN inauguration coming up next month, in FCT. Stanley Onyekwere was there. Excepts:
Tell us about the objectives of ALDSP?
The Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioner of Nigeria (ALDSPN) is a union comprising all Private Security Practitioner as the name implies, and that is bringing together man guards, Security Trainers. We have security consultants, people who deal on security equipment. And the association is all about bringing this group of practitioner together so that we can speak with one voice advise government with one voice and come to the assistance of the regular government security agencies or personnel so that should there be any need for us to complement their activities we can put our heads together and give them the necessary assistance or advise as the case may be.
Does your association encompass the 36 states of the Federation?
Yes, obviously we are established at the national level, at zonal level and at state level. And in each zone we have the President and the Vice President and the rest of it. So also at the state level, and the zones, it is fashioned after the NSCDC, and we have Eight Zones and each zone have one member of our board of trustees including the federal capital and the headquarter. We are ten in number. And presently we have one thousand, two hundred companies operating in Nigeria with a population of almost Two million workers because our number keeps changing due to the turnover of people. Some people join the Security Company may be to get money to go back to school, so we have high turnover of work force.
So this high figure of private security personnel can assist the regular security agencies in the performance of their duties. And the one thousand, two hundred companies that I mentioned not all of them are fully licensed. To get the CAC certification does not authorized you to go and start practicing. You need to register with the NSCDC, because their director needs to be cleared from the State Department before you get license from the Minister of Interior that authorized you to practice as security Practitioner but today you see companies just going to CAC collecting their certificate and then start practicing those are the things we are to check and bring them under control so that we bring the companies under good reputation as mushroom companies are not allowed to just operate without the required license.
How would your association help the government combat quacks in the private security system?
That is one of our aims and objectives to bring together to register them first. Then we make sure that they are licensed according to the regulations of the NSCDC. We have categories A, B, and C, and if you are not register according to your category you are not even authorized to practice and the Civil Defence have the powers to seal off your premises, so if we find companies operating in the FCT or any other place in the country without proper license we report to the regulating body, which is the Civil Defence, who are authorized by law to seal off such offices. So we are working hand in hand with NSCDC to effectively check the quacks; those who are not fully registered in Abuja and other places.
Have your association reached the government on how to assist in fighting the security challenges facing the country?
The idea of bringing together the entire practitioner dated back to 2008, during one of our stakeholders meeting with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), we discussed the idea of bringing all the practitioner under one umbrella and the idea of setting up this association was molded and it was agreed and an interim working committee was set up, and of which I am the National President.
And at the end of the day we were able to come up with a suitable name that covers all the security practitioners and after that we applied to the Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC) for registration.
We have members of board trustees from the eight zones and subsequently we were cleared by the office of the Commander General of the NSCDC as well as from the State Security Service Department as a registered organization and we were given CAC Certificate sometime in December 2012, and since then we have been working together and have been collaborating with government like November last year (2013) there was a meeting on the protection of critical infrastructures, where we were invited to contribute our own quota.
What role can your association play in the fight against insurgency?
Yes we can assist, even though it is not our basic responsibility to fight insurgency but a lot of members and people that we work with have ideas, experience and chance to contribute their own quota to the government in fighting insurgency, but as you know to fight insurgency is the basic responsibility of government security agencies but when government security agencies are involved or spread in counter insurgency operation they leave behind certain aspect of their duty.Those aspects that they left behind can be handled by the private security organizations so it is not that we will go and fight insurgency, but we can assist the regular forces were they are engaged in the counter insurgency operations. While we take care of the rare or the home front they are in fore-front fighting the insurgency;and hopefully bringing the situation to normal.
Notwithstanding we can within our jurisdiction be able to provide certain degree or level of security in such areas provided that there are some other personnel that will support our activities in those areas. And talking about 2015, obviously if our services are required we should be able to assist if it is in securing the ballot boxes, ballot papers escort of election materials and like other essential jobs. For instance people are complaining of soldiers been deployed, but soldier are been deployed may be we do not have sufficient civil or private security that can be engaged in their place, otherwise if the private security are engaged and we make sure they are none partisan and secondly the soldier can now be in reverse were they will not be seen until when their services will be required.
Who are the stakeholders expected at your Association’s launching next month?
First and foremost are the private security owners, those licensed security companies, licensed security consultants, specialist and trainers who trained our personnel. But on top of that we have our host which first is the NSCDC, because they are our supervising body and they are directly under the Ministry of Interior, therefore the Minister of Interior is our chief host. All all government security agencies are also expected. To this end we have met with the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, and we are going to meet with the other service chiefs on what role or assistance we can be able to render to them, towards bringing the insurgency under control. But we have already sent invitations and releases to inform them of our intention to inaugurate our organization sometimes next month, and they have giving us positive responses towards that effect.