Improved Security Will Boost FDI In Nigeria, Says Abiola
From March 24 to 25, Montgomery West Africa will host the sixth edition of the West Africa security exhibition, Securex, in Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. The Managing Director of the company, Ms. Tori Abiola, spoke on the event, insecurity in the country and its effect on the economy, among other issues.
HOW will you rate the security situation in Nigeria?
It is well documented that currently the security situation in Nigeria is not ideal, especially when you talk about of terrorism. I think corporate security is a problem. A lot of corporate partners in hotels, restaurants, banks, oil and gas companies, often complain about safety of food and petty theft. They also complain about the security of their staff, issues around kidnapping, especially in oil and gas sector; cables of some companies in telecommunications industries have been reported stolen. There is a big problem with security in Nigeria.
What is really promoting insecurity in the country?
I will not say that as a people that there is something wrong with us. I will say that our security and surveillance systems are not sophisticated. If you go to other markets, even in South Africa and the Middle East, you will notice that their surveillance system is very good. There is excellent closed-circuit television (CCTV) system, even on the street. You will also notice that equipment is protected from thieves so that the city, even from urban management perspective, can be managed effectively. We do not have that in Nigeria.
Access management is also a challenge. When you go into institutions, the security man would make you sign in and the receptionist would also make you sign in. But that is not security. Security is about access management – who is actually coming into your company, how do you monitor their presence in your company and what access do you give them. Addressing these issues involves technology and products, training and capacity of the security professionals.
We can up our game in detecting any potential terrorist or armed robber in terms of intelligence. If you look at our police, they have the arms and the guns, but when you look at intelligence…intelligence is about being proactive. For example, before someone comes into Lagos, do you know who he is? Do you know who the terrorists are? Do you implant intelligence staff among normal people? Intelligence and security is not just visible in armours or blowing of sirens. It is actually a delicate operation where you have to employ forensic science and advanced technology to manage and root out crimes. I think this is where we need to improve upon as a country.
Where does your forthcoming security exhibition stand in curbing insecurity in Nigeria?
The security exhibition, Securex, is taking place on March 24 and 25 in Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition is actually in its sixth year.
The exhibition is essentially a market place for the security market and vendors in counter terrorism in commercial and homeland security, fire and safety, and cyber security to meet with chief security officers and operators of security management to showcase the latest products in security management.
During the exhibition, exhibitors will showcase the latest products and technology in access control, surveillance, biometrics, physical security in terms of man-guarded security and safety, CCTV and integrated system to enable one manage issues around terrorism and theft.
What is the way forward in managing security in Nigeria?
The reality is that Nigeria’s economy has been growing between four and six per cent yearly. And there is increasing visible source of wealth going by the increase of the middle class. And there are private sector organisations — banking, financial sector and telecommunications — that are doing quite well. Those companies have duties to their stakeholders and employees to make the necessary investments in security. I do not think that it is quite reasonable to say that private organisations do not have the budgets. I think, perhaps, that they choose not to allocate the budget to security. In the short run, it may seem that one is saving, but in the long run the cost is unquantifiable.
For government, I know that the budget is the issue, especially now that the oil price is falling. But if we have a proper way of allocating resources, if government has to work with the private sector, we should be able to overcome this issue.
Security issue should be one of the priority issues in the country. What is happening with Boko Haram, armed robbery and online scam has massive cost to our livelihood. We need to change our orientation and prioritise the issue.
Also we have to think of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Many foreign companies see opportunities in Nigeria, but they are nervous. One of the things that make them to be nervous is insecurity. But if they see that we are investing in security that will help to boost FDI in Nigeria.
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