Ekhomu, Gbadebo, Mrs. Victoria Ekhomu
Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that with the security challenge in the country, more efforts are geared towards professionalism by private security providers
Before now, an issue of security in Nigeria was treated with levity. But not anymore. With frequent attacks by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram and pockets of violence everywhere, many individuals and parastatals have started to tow the line of hiring private security personnel to meet the need of securing their property.
But as increasing number of persons in the country are becoming more security conscious, there is also that need to effectively train private security personnel in line with contemporary challenges as well as modern trends.
And burdened with the need to fill the gap in training efficient personnel, the School of Management and Security (SMS) in Lagos has come up with a simple solution through Certified Protection Professional Training Programme (CPPT), which is expected to help ensure that private security personnel are well equipped before taking on the important role of providing security services to homes and offices across the country.
As conceived by SMS, a subsidiary of Tran-world Security Services Group, a leading security consulting and training firm, the CPPT certification is seen as the security industry's highest recognition for security personnel in the country.
The program according to the school authority, will equip persons who have the responsibility to manage complex security issues that threaten people, corporations, governments, public and private institutions.
The program either through an intensive physical classroom work or online will provide participants with requisite knowledge of a security personnel as it seeks to take them through the rudiments of security, business principles and practices respectively. It will also include personnel, physical and information security, legal aspects, crisis management and investigations.
Recently, SMS inaugurated a new batch of students called the Lagos 12 (L12), who will receive a Diploma in security studies after the six-month duration of the course which is a specialised security training programme that is internationally certified and covers the West Africa corridor.
In his speech, the Faculty Leader, who also doubles as the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu, said there is ample evidence that private security does make a difference in any country.
According to him, the program was informed by the security challenges in Nigeria and the idea behind the program is to help provide adequate security to homes and businesses in the face of the security challenges being experienced in the country in recent times.
He said: "Our character and oneness as Nigerians are daily tested by multifarious security challenges and the current Boko Haram terrorists campaign against Nigeria and its citizens have been deadly and a great threat.
"In risk assessment parlance, the impact has been extremely critical as it had cost over 5000 lives and resulted in enormous destruction of lives and property. The attacks have exhibited a wide threat spectrum from bombings to assassinations.
"The point being made is that the variety of threats and choice of weapons by the sect alone is enough to challenge the security knowledge and acumen of old and new security officers. Permit me to say that security is the act of keeping safe from harm and danger."
He added: "What the police does is law enforcement while the military defends the nation against internal and external aggressors. Therefore, security is about preventing threats from materialising by implementing a number of measures which protest people and property."
"As such, we feel there is need to increase the number of certified professionals providing security services to Nigerians hence this programme, to complement the efforts of the security agencies."
Speaking on how security can add value to life, Ekhomu said it can only be achieved when skilled, professional, ethical and innovative security personnel are brought in, adding that security must be seen as an epistemic community capable of solving complex industrial and national security problems.
He said: "While national security challenges remain the cup of tea of our colleagues who wear the national badge, private security must be well-informed to assist national security officers in solving problems and meeting challenges.
"You might ask what does the present security challenges have to do with you? Everything I must say because increasingly, private security is being called upon to protect assets and prevent losses in an environment where the frequency of attacks is burgeoning rapidly.
"And as long as this persists, governments, businesses, organisations and individuals will continue to call upon private security for competent protection services.
"It is my hope that in time to come, and because there are many certified security professionals in Nigeria, security will become a job that would be reckoned with and in a major way help bring this country back to the paths of security, progress, sanity and respect for human rights."
While advising the new intakes, Ekhomu stressed that there is no shortcut to success and as such they must be diligent in their studies as well as choose a mentor that would successfully guide them through the practical aspects of the course.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Air Vice Marshal Femi Gbadebo (Rtd) and CEO of Benola Initiative, said the need to train private security personnel borders on the delicate times the nation is going through at the moment.
He said: "We are going through delicate times now because of insecurity especially kidnapping which has exploded. We can however attribute it to dissatisfaction and inequitable spread of resources as well as those who fail to understand what is going on at the national level."
While he did not in its entirety rules out the return of the military to power, he however said that it is the people who determine who will rule them, adding that the military are intelligent enough not to mess with the complicated situation.