Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

    Manufacturer's Representative Import Export General Merchandise Contract Adress: Araromi Quarters, Owode Area, Ifo, Ogun state, Nigeria P.O.Box 2632, Oshiodi, Lagos Telephone: 2348166719412

    Sunday, 8 January 2017

    Our national policy trust on security is not protective enough- Ubong Kong


    Dr. Ubong King is a seasoned security practitioner who seats atop a giant security outfit: Protection Plus Security Services Group of Company as a Group Managing Director, Expert in Maritime Security and Peace Ambassador.

    A man who traverses all segments of private security practices, in this no-hold-bar interview with Stephen Dijo Philemon examines the synergy between private security practice and public security agencies in Nigeria.

    Inadequacies in taming organized crime like; armed robbery, kidnapping across the land as well as  insurgency in the northern fringe of Nigeria and the way out of the logjam. It is educating, informing and an eye opening. Read on:

    Can we meet you?
    KING: My name is Ubong King. I am from Akwa Ibom State, South South Nigeria. I am the Managing Director of Protection Plus Security Services Limited which has a subsidiary which includes Heritage Treasure Group. It is a brand and image of the company. We have the Heritage Guards which is also an adversory security company. We are also into Maritme Security, Oil and Gas. So, I seat as a Group Managing Director of the group of the companies.
    I am a graduate of University of Calabar, Cross River State South South Nigeria. I am an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. I am the President Senior Management Class 27 Programme of Lagos Business School. I am a member governing council Lagos Business School. I am a board member Nigeria Trinidad Chambers of Commerce. I am chairman America Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) International Chapter 202, Lagos Nigeria. I am married with children.

    How is it managing a gigantic security outfit like yours?

    KING: Being gigantic is relative because what you call gigantic to one person may actually be a small thing to another. It depends on one’s mental capacity. For me, I did not enter private security practice because I wanted to provide marguarding services; I entered because I perceived a system failure in the society. And if you look at the global competitive report, you will see why security is a challenge. That report tells us that in Nigeria, our situation have not been upright, because of that, we have a policy that is not protective to our people or help the country to determine how strong we are.

    For instance, you have somebody who wants to sing, he goes to studio to record the song. A day before the launching of his album, he goes to the road and sees six thousand pirated copies of his song yet to be launched. There is nothing that looks like protecting him and his intellectual property. There is an index global report that portrays Nigeria in bad light. I give you a classic example. 

    A Chinese came to this country, he sees that we don’t have power- electricity. Everybody lives on generators or he knows that there is poverty in the land. He reads a report that out of 150million people in the country, a sizeable numbers of them are poor and the few that are employed, their take home is N60,000 monthly. So, what he does, he goes back to his country, makes a report and makes a rechargeable lamp with a poor quality that will last only one month so that they can buy another one later, having known they have poor purchasing power.

    If our standard control system; the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) is effective, such equipment should not come into this country. That is why people say the qualities of products shipped to Nigeria are adulterated because low quality products come to Africa. You can see we have a big challenge and we must tackle it headlong with a gigantic strength. You can see now that the gigantic you are ascribing to me  is relative. And for me, I develop myself to meet up with that challenge.

    How will you rate the synergy between private security system and public security agency as a solution to national security problem?

    KING: Currently in Nigeria, it is very poor. If we are able to integrate the two, we will be strong and responsive country to security challenges like in advanced country. I give you an example; sometimes in 2012, a riot broke out in London when Olympic was to start in September, just a month to the event. Some young boys went on rampage, looting shops, breaking into shops, maiming, wounding, robbing and disposes people of their belongings. CNN captured it as it was going on. Just a few months after, CNN also reported that they have arrested the people, because the kinds of CCTV or cameras they use have an identification system which is run on a special card. All they need is just a part of your face showing on the database. 

    It will indicate your address, where you have been in the last few days, where you will be in the next few days. If you are the type that goes to school every Monday, the Police will wait for you at the school and as soon as they spot you, they arrest you. But we don’t have that in Nigeria. Now we have Boko Haram. Though, we seem to be winning the war, why is it difficult to apprehend and fish them out amidst the populace, after all their not spirit, they are human being living among us. They transact business in banks and other segments of the society.

     They wouldn’t have been evading arrest if our system work well. It is because we don’t have adequate technology to fight crime, crime fighting has gone beyond shooting gun, detection and prevention is the antidote in crime prevention all over the world nowadays. If there were CCTV camera or other detective device, it will capture the footage of their operation on a data system. It will show facial card or biometric. Once that happens, any one of them that uses ATM, it will show the address and the security agents will pick him up

    But as we don’t have those thing integrated into our security system, we are just exposing our military men, the Police and other security agents to guerrilla warfare. If we improve our technology to meet our challenge, we will be able to solve our problems. This is because, security technology or system comes from private sector, then the public sector benefits. All the equipments the foreign public security agencies are using in the advanced country are all made by private sector. 

    All the technology advancement have gone private and public sector use it or give contract to the private sector to produce it. The research and development of this technology are on the platform of the private sector. Though, the public sector don’t possess it, but they can advise the private sector, this is what we need to combat crime, go and produce it. But when we don’t do that, we expose our security agents to mayhem and death.

    I am aware that you, along with Chief Patrick Keku, Chairman Pahek Security Services and others have tried to put the synergy to the nation’s front banner when you went to the National Assembly, the Senate in particular in those days to push for a bill on National Security Commission, what becomes of the move?

    KING: One of the things I remember is that, the project was hijacked and it was to be taken over by public parastatal because the concern then was that, the project was not meant for private sector, that it was public sector initiative.

    But those of you in the private sector initiated the idea in the first instance.

    KING: Yes, but it did not work that way because even if you look at our public policy in this country, one of the challenges is that those in charge, the leadership are not exposed, they are not knowledgeable to face the challenges on ground. When a man is not knowledgeable about the situation of things, how can he give direction? So, when you elect a leadership who does not know how to identify a problem, you have an issue. They have created more problems because there is no smoke without fire. So if you want to off the smoke, quench the fire. You trace the source of the fire before you deal with it. If you can not find the source of the fire, you are wasting your time trying to put off the fire.

    As the chairman of ASIS, how has it being?

    KING: It is a very interesting and dynamic because in ASIS, I have the collage of both private and public sector practitioners at a senior level and everybody that is there must know how a company must operate, how it must work. But as leadership, the value of ASIS is one, education, and two, experience. If you have education without experience, it will not work and if you have experience without education, it will not work.

    But when you have the two together, you benefit from the two and you apply them on the job. Now, we have five hundred and fifty members as security directors. Of course, they think like professionals and business men or women. You give directive strategy on what people will like to see functioning and one of these things we have done is to have a digital unit right now. Everything about ASIS Lagos is online. Your appearance and attendance at the meeting is only physical thing we need.

    The minutes of the meetings and other documentation, transaction are online so that you are able to see things first hand. We have a Google group of about 300members in there. So any intelligent information that somebody shares, 300 people get it and they can build on or add to it. 

    So any information anybody gets anywhere and as leadership, anything you post on Google that is not factual, you will be excommunicated straight away. So people are very careful, I don’t want to hear anybody saying news reaching me now says something is happening in Ajah, No. what you will tell me is, now at Ajah, this particular incident is happening. You must be specific. You must be sure of your fact. Then I know you are presenting fact, and not stories.

    How will you assess ASIS impact on private security in Nigeria?

    KING: First of all, as I have said, education is a key to development. For example, during 2015 elections period, you will remember that as ASIS, we postulated what is going to happen. We represent security companies. 

    We paint a scenario, did analysis of what is going to happen, that there will be crisis in some states. What shall we do as security managers? That helped us to do a risk assessment and evaluation plan, advisory and short term plan on disaster management, so those that are not sharp in these studies, when they come to ASIS meeting, they became sharp and they go back, apply it and their value is better appreciated in the business. That is why when you come to ASIS meeting, we have one of the largest attendance every month because everybody adds value. So when you improve yourself every month, you see you are always better than what you were before.

    It appears not every private security practitioner wants to be associated with ASIS. Is it an inferiority complex?

    KING: No. I will not say it is an inferiority complex. I will say it is a personal value. There is nobody who should not grow in knowledge and at a level of security management. What matters is your intelligent network. If you are wise, grow your intelligent and your network. You will be a better person for it. First of all, a lot of people don’t know about ASIS and they don’t want to know. Another thing is that they limit themselves.

    When you know and you don’t want to join ASIS because of some petit things, you have problem not me. But if you know and you join, you will find out that there is local and international value because you become Certified Protection Practitioners (CPP) and you will be rated among the best in the world or Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and you will possess all other relevant professional credentials that place you on appropriate pedestal in security worldwide.

    You can go any where as your certification allows you to be recognized all over the world, but if you limit yourself to a myopic mindset, you will be limited only to your guard. What is more, we have best speakers both local and foreign. So people have a lot to gain in being members of ASIS.

    May be some people see ASIS as a foreign thing.

    KING: No. That should not be, because we have local leaders occupying big positions in the system. How is it a foreign thing? We have security managers that are mainly local. In fact, we have Africans who are foreigners alike who come to join ASIS because they have seen the value. Yes, and they are enjoying it because they have seen the value and you don’t need to convince somebody to benefit what is valuable to him. They say it is in the eating of the porrage that you know the sweetness. So you can see, it is not just a white man affair. It is not a racial thing, it is about security and security transcends colour.

    How will you evaluate the private security practitioners in Nigeria vis-à-vis the New Association; Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSN) that have just been formed as an umbrella body for the practitioners. Have they met the expectation of Nigerians?

    KING: I will say so far, we are operating maximum at 20percent. Why I say this is because marguarding is not only aspect of security. There are different areas but majority of the practitioners are only on private guards. There is no even licensed for private investigation. It has become the sole prerogative of State Security Services. We don’t even have a private body that can formulate strategy against crime in this country. 

    You remember there was a young man that did auto bug. If you enter a car it will show. In different countries, it is not that people don’t jump into a car through window. What they did is that, having known that they cannot stop people from breaking into the cars, they device a technology to detect and arrest the culprits

    The world has gone technological, Nigeria should not be an exception. Government should create and enabling environment. There is no doubting the fact that, Nigerians are genius. This is evident in that, Nigerians are making waves in Europe and America and other parts of the world. So if we are not performing such feat in our own country, definitely something is wrong with us. It is a systemic failure. 

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