From Ruth David
Security is everyone’s business and guaranteeing the security of lives and property of citizens is the cardinal responsibility of every government either at the federal, state or local level. Security issues have for the past few years been boggling the hearts and minds of security personnel in the country as a result of insurgency, especially in the Northeast sub-region.
In its efforts to drastically reduce the crime rate in Bauchi state, the state recently organized a workshop involving both public and private security guard operatives to update their skills and knowledge on security.
Organized by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in collaboration with the Bauchi state government, the two-day workshop saw the convergence of a vast number of private security companies at the Bauchi Federal Secretariat, venue of the all-encompassing event.
The Workshop, tagged “Role of private guards in curbing insurgency in Bauchi”, which aim is to enable security personnel cross-fertilize ideas on security operations, witnessed presentation of papers, lectures, and other informative communications among participants, all in the drive to save lives and property of citizens.
Among papers presented at the workshop which impacted positively on the guard operatives drawn from various private guard companies include one with the sub-topic ‘Guards Security Duty’ presented by NSCDC Head of Department on Private Guard Companies, CSC Garpiya Nuvalga.
He is burdened with the responsibility of monitoring and supervising the activities of private guard companies in the country whose duty is to protect persons, buildings, information, properties, among others, against attacks by hoodlums or criminals.
According to him, the security guards are supposedly complementing the efforts of law enforcement agencies, taking into cognizance that the agencies lack adequate manpower to police every community in the country that is now under- policed based on United Nations minimum standard for police. Nigeria now has about 200 million people, and the policing ratio is 1: 450.
The Private Guard Department of the NSCDC said that this wide gap may be filled by either staffers of private guard companies, unemployed youth, employed people without schedule of duties, and members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which can also assist in the employment drive of Bauchi state.
However, he said that criminals can take advantage of the employment drive to infiltrate the private guard companies and launch attacks on innocent citizens, hence the need for collaboration between the guard companies and law enforcement agencies to devise ways and methods of reducing the gap in policing in the country.
He added that Guards are expected to be professional in attitude and actions through systematic training with a view to converting guards’ vocational security duty to professional security duty, consequent upon which the Federal Government empowered the NSCDC to train and supervise the private guard companies.
Mr Nuvalga stated, therefore, that it is illegal, wicked and dangerous for any private guard company to recruit guards without the recruits receiving training from the NSCDC, stressing that any customer, company or individual that accepts untrained guards could be seen as toying with a timed bomb. He insisted that the NSCDC is in the best position to recommend a reputable private guard company to any customer who wants the services of security personnel.
According to Mr. Nuvalga, the present challenge was the intelligence report that insurgents are likely to infiltrate and cause mayhem in Bauchi state through the private guards. He revealed that they are also likely to disguise as fruit vendors using wheel barrows filled with fruits and wired with IEDs to attack specific targets.
After much deliberations, it was unanimously resolved that there is need to sensitize the private guard companies’ community in Bauchi state, especially in these very difficult and volatile security times, given that the workshop was geared towards equipping private guard officers posted to both public and private locations to be alive to their responsibilities.
Also, the workshop stressed the need for complete prevention of attacks and 24 hours surveillance duty in and around target areas to discourage potential attackers, as a guard can force suicide bomber to detonate an IED before getting to the target through delay action.
Access control can be done on roads, offices, banks, houses, schools, parks and market places, while metal detectors could be used in banks. Also recommended are effective interviewing skills, barricade traffic flow system and rood diversion to delay or avert attacks.
Mr Nuvalga pointed out that the threat of insurgency is diverse and includes, but is not limited to, detonation of bombs and explosives, kidnapping, rape, assaults, robbery, among others, hence guards must be knowledgeable in tactics, nature, character and behaviors of attackers so that the guards can be in a position to counter such threats.
Guards are also to use clear and quick methods to communicate security threats, danger or attack to security agencies and the public through whistle blowing, shouting, GSM text messages, phone calls where necessary, and are supposed to maintain good working relationship with NSCDC.
The workshop emphasized the need for every private guard company to have adequate training facilities for possible simulation exercise on how best guards can respond to incidences at crime scenes, and to establish response mechanisms with relevant incidence commanders for guide response, as well as identify vulnerable or volatile beats.
It is also necessary for guards to be adequately briefed on how to respond to incidents at scenes before deployment, which briefs include suspecting someone, hearing gunshots, hearing whistle blow, seeing danger in crowded environment, seeing vandals, and when suspects are attempting to escape from crime scenes, to arrest and hand them over to the NSCDC for prosecution.
Mr Nuvalga observed that most private guard companies have obsolete vision, mission and objective statements which are hindrances to the growth of a company in line with global best practices, while there is the need for every guard operating company in the North East to repackage, upgrade or update its services in line with the security challenges in the sub-region.
He said that upgrading or updating of private guard companies include corporate planning, SWOT analyses with respect to fight against insurgency, carrying out survey of the security market, segmenting the market, setting targets, re-writing vision in line with security challenges, as well as re-writing mission to drive vision, and determine objectives.