With over five million operatives across Nigeria, security practitioners said the increasing kidnappings in the country can be eradicated within a short time, if the government collaborates with them.
The Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria, Mr. Davidson Akhimien, said the number of policemen securing Nigeria (about 370,000) pales in comparison to the number of private security operatives in the country.
He said, “We have huge resources in gathering intelligence at the grass roots because our operatives do not live in barracks. They live among the people. Kidnapping can be curbed if government finds a way to incorporate us into the country’s security architecture.
“In fact, we have included intelligence gathering as part of our activities. We have directed each state to make this a priority and we can then pass such intelligence reports to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, which regulates our activities.”
Akhimien said during a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday, that there was need for a platform of intelligence sharing and collaboration between Nigerian security agencies and private security practitioners.
According to him, such collaboration did not have to come at a cost to the government even though private practitioners are profit driven.
“We are not asking for money. We will be there in an advisory capacity. Desperate times need desperate measures. There needs to be stiffer penalty for crimes. We can even bring back firing squads if need be. Things have become that bad.”
While answering questions on allegations of collusion with criminal elements by some private security guards, Akhimien said this is why the eradication of quackery is top on the list of the association, an issue that would be addressed during its annual conference to be held in Abuja next Thursday and Friday.
Publicity Director of the association, Mr. Richard Amuwa, added that community policing was the solution to Nigeria’s security problems.
He said, “Until Nigeria learns to incorporate private security outfits like other developed countries, cases of kidnappings and highway robberies would not end.
“We already have branches in 30 states and with the number of operatives we have on the ground, such private security guards are the ones that are supposed to serve the purpose of community policing.”
The association said its coming conference would focus on standardisation as a key to professionalising security practice in the country.