From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

In a bid to tackle the insecurity ravaging the country, the federal government has moved to revamp and reposition the practice of private security guard companies (PGCs).

To this effect, the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, established a nine-member reform committee headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry, Dr. Aishatu Gogo Ndayako.

Speaking as the Chairman of a Stakeholders Consultative Meeting in Abuja on Nigeria Private Security Practice, the Minister explained that two other members of the committee would be drawn from the Ministry of Interior, while the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN) would each contribute three members.

The reform committee, according to him, has three weeks to submit its report. The committee is tasked with ensuring the standardization of private security companies in the country to meet the security needs of Nigerians.

The private guard companies, the minister said, have a significant role to play in enhancing the country’s security architecture, complementing the duties of conventional security agencies in terms of intelligence gathering. He reiterated the need for operators to adhere to regulatory rules, urging the NSCDC to enforce and regulate accordingly.

Assuring support from the Interior Ministry and cooperation, Tunji-Ojo announced that the benefits of the proposed reforms would be enjoyed by members of Private Guards Companies who comply with standardized regulations.

In his remarks, Ndayako explained that the stakeholders meeting aimed to address key challenges, explore innovative solutions, and strengthen the professionalism of private security services.

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Stating that the forum aimed to ensure constructive dialogue and collective expertise to foster a more secure environment for communities and businesses, the Permanent Secretary called for maximum participation and contribution from operators drawn from all zones in the country.

Earlier, the Commandant General (CG) of NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, said that Nigeria is grappling with security challenges. He stated that the situation requires coordination, cooperation, and collaboration from all state actors with the support of private security operators to be effectively addressed.

Emphasizing the crucial role of private security operators, the CG maintained that no agency has a monopoly on strategies, hence the need for the companies to fill the gaps that may be left by conventional agencies.

Concerning the NSCDC’s sole mandate in regulating the activities of Private Guards Companies as outlined in the NSCDC Act (Amendment) 2007, the CG stated that the corps is empowered to recommend private security companies to the Minister of Interior for licensing, monitor and supervise their activities, and train their operatives.

Assuring the corps’ readiness to improve its regulatory activities, he disclosed that in 2006, when the regulation of PGCs was handed over to NSCDC with 525 licensed companies under the ministry, the corps, through its regulatory activities, had increased the number of companies to 1,333 nationwide as of 2023.

The National President of the Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria, ALPSPN, Mr. Chris Adigwu, commended the minister for the stakeholders’ consultative meeting and pledged, on behalf of his members, to adhere to new reforms that will be put in place.

Other highlights of the meeting included presentations on challenges and solutions by representatives of operators from different zones, which were articulated and responded to by the Minister of Interior, who presided over the meeting.

Recall that the NSCDC is statutorily empowered to train, supervise, monitor, and issue licenses to private security practitioners in Nigeria.

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