The Group Managing Director, Halogen Group, Wale Olaoye, in this interview speaks about the nexus between a safe society and economic growth and the need for the federal government to collaborate with the private sector in addressing the security challenges confronting the nation. Raheem Akingbolu brings the excerpts:
Can you please highlight how effective security can boost businesses and impact the nation’s economy?
All over the world, businesses and nation’s economy thrive better in the midst of safety and enabling environment. Man and Nation should live anxiety-free to achieve. In the same way, businesses and enterprises have to be anxiety-free to succeed. When a country is anxiety -free, people carry out their businesses with ease and contribute their quota to the economy. Besides, individual and businesses have assets that need to be jealously protected. We should not also forget that there are risk profiles that must also be taken into consideration in businesses. The asset could be tangible or intangible; whether it’s mobile or static, whether it’s virtual, whether it’s visible, whether it’s information, whether it’s money in the bank through application, this is a new world. When individuals and businesses feel safe and anxieties related to security are eliminated or reduced, every human being feels empowered to pursue the achievement of their personal goals and life purpose. That’s where a company like Halogen comes in; we are in that new world to provide a 360-degree view to enable our clients work and enjoy without anxieties. We are telling our clients to go out and produce their products at the factory because we are there and with Halogen, they should go and drill their oils without fear. We are saying leave the worries for us because you are covered. Beyond businesses, security is relevant in our day to day activities to enable us achieve our set-out objectives. For a country, security is not only a factor but a top priority that must be set to create a safe society that would help businesses to grow. For instance, if any member of a family is threatened in a particular day, the job of the bread winner of the family will suffer that day and this will have negative impact on the income of the family. Relate this to a nation, the impact will be in folds on the economy.
In the last few years, security challenges appear to have overwhelmed the country, vis-à-vis businesses. As a top player in the private corporate security industry, are there roles experts in your field can play to complement government effort?
Of course, there’s a lot that can be done in that regard. A quick check around the advanced nations and economies can confirm that government collaborates with private sector in solving security challenges. Today, because of digitalisation, the world has become opened, man has become more volatile and the notion of risk itself has changed. We are now in the fourth industrial revolution, which is the fact that digitalisation has taken over our world. Every device is connected; IoT, mobility and the rest. To be safe in such a world, it requires a robust solution that can address the complexities. Therefore, in Nigeria, government and the private sector can partner to address various security challenges but the first leg will be for public institutions like the Police and other security operatives to be well equipped for effectiveness to meet international standard. The combination and reconciliation of the private operators and public institutions will bring efficiency in their collective operation. Like we have in Halogen group now, we are involved in mitigating the risk of our clients; both individuals and companies. If our client’s child is in school, we are assuring the client that he should not worry, Halogen is in the child. For the wife in the market, Halogen is involved and the husband can concentrate wherever he is. The questions we are now asking include; how do we involve in your life? how do we involve in your family? How do we involve in your community and how do we involve in the national security space? Meanwhile because of the notion that risk has changed, that of security too has changed and it requires thorough understanding and investment in technology. All these things have redefined the notion of security and risk as it concerns man, enterprise, community and nation. As a result of this, promoters of the Halogen brand have moved ahead to reskill and retool. With the increasing complexities and changing nature of security risks in today’s digitally connected, open and continuously volatile world, we believe that superior security solution is required to live better and secured for optimal productivity.
Globally, the world is groaning under the negative influence of digital revolution. Digital insecurity is rising. Technology, today are being used by terrorists and other criminals to get to their victims. We have been inundated with digital invasion of bank accounts by online or digital robbers. Identity theft and many others within the cyber security circle.
Nigeria, with a huge youth population, most of whom are not economically viable, falling for the mesmerising negative influence of digital technology is very easy.
The Halogen Group recently rebranded and extended its frontiers, can that be one of the company’s positioning effort to meet the demand of today’s market?
Like I have consistently said, the notion of risk has changed and so our approach too must change. When we look at the organisations we served 27 years ago, we discover that the risk of threat that usually confronted them then has changed. Then, there was risk of bandit breaking into homes, car theft was popular and there was fear of armed robbers intercepting company accountant on the pay day and others. To this end, companies would be forced to hire policemen to protect the company on the pay day. But today, things have changed as armed robbers hardly go to homes again or target cars and cash on the roads. Armed robbers and bag snatchers are, least among the patterns of the rising insecurity in the land. In contemporary Nigeria, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, communal clashes, abduction, vandalism, rape, child theft and armed banditry are in vogue. That was the notion of risk at that time but cashless policy through digitalisation has changed all that as people don’t carry cash around again. There are also trackers in most vehicles and this has reduced the risk of vehicle theft as well. But again, digitalisation has further opened the world; individual’s information is online while company’s servers are in the cloud. With this, we are now more at risk than before because the world has opened more. Because of our conviction that man has to be anxiety-free to achieve, we want to help our clients to be anxiety-free too to achieve. That is the philosophy of the new Halogen which is hinged on three things; we propel our clients to achieve, we forestall threat to achieve and we reduce anxiety, no matter the situation.
Having said this, the new Halogen Group is designed to provide integrated, end-to-end security solutions to enterprise clients and individual consumers alike. It is established to comprehensively address emerging complexities of security risks resulting from the dominance of technology and digital connectivity in today’s lifestyles and businesses. Today, what was once seen as Halogen Security company Limited has evolved into Halogen Group; Six technology- driven group of specialist operating companies offering integrated, end-to-end security solutions to the world. The transformed Halogen Security Company Limited has grown into a global best practice security solutions leader, leveraging cutting edge digital technology, deep local knowledge, vast geographical reach and a motivated, highly knowledgeable team of security risk experts to provide safety in today’s open and continuously volatile world.
Halogen Group’s six operating companies are: Avert Halogen – digitally connected remote surveillance and monitoring services; Avant Halogen – identity management, risk consulting and resourcing; PS Halogen – manned guarding and event management; Armour X Halogen – virtual and cyber security; Armada Halogen – secured Mobility and Academy Halogen – Halogen School of Security Management & Technology.
We are now more committed to offering a value proposition of safety in an Open World. We want to help ensure safety in an open and continuously volatile world as well as helping people combat increasing levels of anxiety.
In a country where mortality rate for businesses is high, what are factors that have helped the Halogen brand to achieve tremendous feat and remain relevant for over two decades?
Perhaps we need to go back to how the Halogen brand was established in the first place. Halogen came into security business; one, by chance and two, on clear mandate. The founder of the business at that time, who was doing well in one brand business had an unfortunate incidence that led to the need for a proper security for his home and one of our sister companies at that time. It was agreed that in all, 36 security personnel would be needed to provide the service at the company and his residence. At the end, it was discovered that they couldn’t get 36 guards in the existing private security companies that could give the 36 men in three months at that time. That was in 1992 and what they wanted was not just the common guard that didn’t possess the basic knowledge of modern security service.
They were surprised that they couldn’t get any corporate security firm that could deliver that and that appeared strange. On their own, they instructed the Human Resources department of their firm to recruit 30 able guys and they went ahead to train them at Police College. They kitted them and positioned them in the various offices and residence. Then weeks after, people, who noticed that they looked different started making enquiries from our company about the security guards with the purpose of hiring similar guys. Of course, the company told them that they were recruited and trained internally but the request persisted. It was at that stage that the company admitted that there was indeed a vacuum that needed to be urgently filled. Then they sat down to conceptualize what is today known as Halogen. The first stage of the assignment was to do a quick check on the challenges facing the industry as well as embarking on research that would bring about the required solution. As part of the survey, they travelled to Israel, South Africa and the United State of America to talk to people and see the way the industry was being run in those places. The essence of this was to look for global players, who would agree to come down here to set up a frame work that would give birth to a standard security company. After meeting necessary registration requirement and got the nod of the Ministry of Interior, experts from abroad came and set up a training school. To the promoters of the brand, they believe that before you venture into any business, there is need to provide facilities through which personnel will learn the skill in line with international standard and assemblage of body of knowledge that would guide the process. That is professional, hence the vision of the company to be the number one provider of private security service in Nigeria using technology and human resources. It was not however a surprise when Halogen became the first private security company in Nigeria to be ISO certified. Shortly after establishment and training of guards, our guards soon became distinguished in the market place because they met international standard. We took it a bit further by embarking on background check to find out about the guards being deplored to people’s offices and residences. We started this to be sure the information provided by the guards were actually true. At that time, there was no internet but we set up our own solution that would make the investigation easy. Again, we set up the technical department that gave birth to an effective Access Control system to support the operation through effective communication.