Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Dr. Kabir Adamu – MD, Beacon Consulting Limited
Tanwa Ashiru – CEO, Bulwark Intelligence
Engineer Mustapha K.A. Lusty – MD/CEO, Kontz Engineering Services
Cheta Nwanze – Lead Partneer, SBM Intelligence

Organised in partnership with Securex West Africa

Key points

Tanwa Ashiru notes that while the Covid-19 virus has had a big impact on society, Nigerians are resilient people, and there is evidence already they are bouncing back. The key is now for the Government to implement recovery plans (if these are in existence) to assist recovery and direct resources where they are most needed, noting that with economic hardship comes increases in crime. Tanwa feels there is insufficient official guidance by regulators, and highlights some horrifying incidents involving official forces and poor performances by private security. The situation in North East Nigeria, where terrorist activity is renowned has become more complex as even insurgents have been starved of resources and are resorting to pillaging to get by. She calls on the Government to understand the threats, and those who pose a threat and to embrace technology in its response.

Cheta Nwanze laments that the private security sector has not been helped during the crisis and indeed that it has been undermined. He places an emphasis on rebuilding trust with the public and from the Government, which, as he emphasises, is crucial. That there is an uneven application of the law, with some of the more privileged being seen to be able to flout rules characterises this. You will hear him discuss some striking and truly worrying statistics, that security forces have caused more deaths in some circumstances than the virus itself. He calls for more effective collation and use of local intelligence as a basis for informing a better response.

Dr Kabir Adamu notes that many people do not believe in Covid-19. There is significant resistance primarily because of a lack of trust. He says there is a need for better communication, not least in rural areas where many lack access to the latest information. More generally trust comes from not just enforcing rules fairly but being seen to do so.  He sees real opportunities for private security because public agencies are stretched. Unfortunately there is little recognition of what private security can do, and so therein rests the dilemma, and the challenge. Dr Adamu laments the enormous pool of resources of the private security sector are being under used by Government in this time of need.

Akin Mustapha notes that this pandemic, with its associated high crime levels, has shown that many organisations do not have appropriate plans. He laments the lack of public trust which undermines attempts to coordinate a response. Ultimately there is a need for the Government to review its policy and target appropriate help where it is needed. He outlines some of the principles of good security, a layered approach, which need to feature more prominently, and for the security sector to get better at justifying its costs. The private security sector has played and will continue to play an important role in covering the gaps left by the lack of state provision and in so doing it is taking on new and varied tasks and expanding its own knowledge and usefulness.  He too calls for more and better use of technology and better collaboration between the Government and private security.

This webinar highlights some of the striking problems facing Nigeria. Lack of trust and resources and high crime set a context for a private security sector that has struggled and is struggling to show its usefulness. It can take comfort from its new skill sets brought about by dealing with the pandemic, but structural stresses remain and they undermine any good work the security sector can highlight, albeit, promoting the good work it does must by prioritised.

Martin Gill
28th August 2020

After the 45 minute panel discussion, the first ever Virtual Nigeria OSPA awards was held and winners were revealed in 7 categories. You can view the full announcement here.