Security Situation In Nigeria Will Improve More

Felix Olorundamilola, a security expert and ex-military personnel with over 25 years in both law enforcement/military service and industrial security, is the CEO of SSV Protection Services Ltd. In this interview with InsideBusinessNG, he speaks glowingly about the Nigeria military.

488

As a retired military officer with a deep knowledge of counter-terrorism, how would you describe the security situation of the country? 

 I won’t say I have seen it all in the military because the dynamics keep changing. Things have changed since I left the military, I believe other countries of the world are also experiencing insecurity as we do in Nigeria and some have it worse, hence, people’s perception of insecurity here makes it appear so bad.

The country still stands as one despite the many challenges, we do not have many non-state actors like other countries do, but the major problem we are faced with is management.

 At a time, it was almost out of control but today FCT is safe, the commercial centre which is Lagos is also safe, and with time, together with the capability of the incoming government, the security situation will surely improve.

The reports on insurgency are scary and these have created doubt on the capability of Nigeria’s military to deal with the security challenges across the country. Do you also share in this fear?

Yes, the capacity is there! Nigeria’s military is one of the best. Globally, we go on rescue missions to other nations of the world where there are security challenges, and breakdown of law and order such as what happened in Liberia, and Sierra Leone through ECOMOG following a security call from the UNITED NATIONS and we have always come back with good records of resolution, integrity, discipline, and competence making our military one of the best.

Would you say the achievement of the military corresponds with the huge expenditure incurred by the government, especially when we factor in, the diversion of security funds as seen in the case of Sambo Dasuki, the former NSA?

Unfortunately, corruption affects heavily, the security sector. We are aware of Sambo Dasuki’s case of diversion into politics of millions of dollars that should have gone for military equipment.

The change of government in 2015 exposed some of the corrupt practices in the military and we were able to change and commence the professional management of our security and architecture, which today helps us to equip the military the best way we can.

Although some other areas of insecurity surface, there is improvement due to the ability to match up, combat, and protect the country as a whole.

Our international borders are porous, and several routes are not painstakingly protected. This allows insurgents to access our borders, especially in the northern part of the country, causing problems for the country.  I would say there is justification for the money spent from 2015 up to date, which has improved the security sector. The acquisition of the best equipment for air power has also led to synergy with ground forces.

That we can conduct elections in all states of the federation peacefully, unlike before is a clear justification for the money spent on bettering our military.

As a security executive and consultant, what exactly does your new work in retirement entail?

 It entails security intelligence gathering, not the physical protection of raising guards or starting house-to-house guarding.

We want to be an intelligence firm that can be a resource even for law enforcement, provide them with information and also provide intelligence for private individuals and firms who seek to do business in Nigeria. We help them to know the risks in each of the regions in the country, assist them to decide where to locate their businesses, and let them know the likely security challenges in each region. We simply provide advisory. Our clients are multinationals, smaller firms, and government agencies who will want to know how to save their staffs or whether we can protect them. Presently, we consult for an international company that deals in the installation of equipment and whose expatriates are coming from Europe. We provide personnel protection for them.

We are also fully into journey management, escort duties, intelligence gathering, VIP protection, security survey, risk management, and evaluation.

There is a relationship between security and economic growth. How well would you tell us about this?

 The defense budget has been the highest in a couple of years in our budgetary allocation because every sector of the economy has to be guarded because of the nexus between security and economic growth. Investors like a peaceful atmosphere where there are no security challenges to their staff and resources. The better the security, the more inflow of investment that we will have in the country, especially foreign direct investments.

In the past 10 years, insecurity in Nigeria has been featured as the major drawback of economic growth in the reports of the IMF, World Bank, NESG, CBN, and others. How can we give comfort to prospective investors, considering that money and investment will go only to safe environments?

Nigeria remains a large market for investors no matter the insecurity and it is quite unfortunate that Non-state actors capitalise on the shortage of men in the military and their inability to be at a crime scene at the same time. Therefore they can prey on soft targets such as schools, families, and staffs of organisations. Investors are convinced by information provided by intelligence officials like us as to where to and where not to put their investments.

What is the vision of your organisation and how far has it lived it? 

We aim to be the foremost private security firm in Nigeria, using our strength in intelligence gathering to assist law enforcement agencies to do their work and helping the business community to thrive. To the glory of God, we have been able to surpass expectations and this grow the confidence in us from our clients. This has sustained the business since it was established in 2016.

Can we know some of your clients, evidence that your organisation has lived up to the billings, and the challenges you can highlight so far?

The nature of our business does not permit the disclosure of our clients or organisation. We are not into “buy and sell”. We work for government agencies that consult us and private firms that employ our services.

What tools do you employ in carrying out your duties considering the present rate of inflation and the legality surrounding certain tools like guns?

 Information, intelligence gathering, and security survey in the quote are our tools as we do not play in the armed sector of carrying guns and ammunition. Nigeria recognises the law enforcement agents In the country as the only authorised users of guns and ammunition, we work with them for armed escorts when the need arises.

The huge investment in your business is the vast experience that you have garnered over the years, how easy was it for you to set up?

My experience over the years as an ex-military officer aided the easy setup of my business. I have garnered the required experience and training long before venturing into the business. Merging all of these in compliance with government requirements of registering the business with the country’s registry, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as well as the civil defense for licensing, being the regulatory body for private security outfits, we were able to get our space in the sector.

Did you get funding support like loans from financial institutions or did you rely on your savings over the years?

 Well, I rely on my savings to get the company started. It was rough and tough. Getting loans from banks was not realistic because of the collaterals required but thank GOD for the goodwill of family and friends.

 This is your seventh year in business. In what sectors are your clients and how did you attract them?

 We have been in operation since 2016, protecting the assets of private individuals, religious organisations, business communities, and even government agencies that employ our service. We get referrals which is a pointer to the effectiveness of our service. We also provide security advisories and today, we can boldly say that we have contributed also to the growth of our economy through the services we provide.

In your years of private business, what are the everyday challenges that you deal with in your work?

Our everyday challenges are in the areas of finance; prompt payment of salary, all of which leads to the shortage of staff. These are common challenges that every other business also faces.

 

Security business seems to be prospering owing to the insecurity in the country. Can you give the size or value of the sector?

  That insecurity helps security businesses to thrive is only an assumption, even at that Nigerians are unwilling to pay for this great service as staff in this sector are poorly remunerated. This is why I stay off guard business.

Even companies do not want to pay guards above the minimum wage and because of this go for people they have not done background checks on, which is insidious. But it will get better with time.

 

From your analysis of inquiries from clients and the security situation of the country, which geographical unit is most endangered and doesn’t attract advisories from prospective clients? 

 Northeast and Northwest are the most endangered because of their closeness to the Northern African borders. The breakdown of law and order is still a factor in Libya. The weapons are not accounted for and there is infiltration of small arms and non-state actors from the northern part all of which aid kidnapping and the like in the northern part of the country.

Comments are closed.