The Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN) has urged the Federal Government to grant its members permission to carry arms in order to help solve the lingering security challenges in the country.
ALPSPN has over 1000 licensed security companies with operations across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as members.
National President of the association, Wilson Esangbedo, made the call when he led the executive members of the association to meet with the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, in Abuja.
Esangbedo, who lamented the numerous security challenges bedeviling the country at this moment, claimed that: “Research has shown that countries where private guards carry arms appear to experience better security”, adding that “examples in Africa are Rwanda, Morocco and South Africa”.
Section 17 of Private Guard Decree, 1986 as amended in 2004 expressly forbids private security guards from carrying arms and ALPSPN’s president said this placed members of the association at a disadvantaged position whilst limiting their potential to help reduce insecurity across the nation.
While calling for further amendment of the law to allow private security guards to carry arms, Esangbedo stressed that the move will free up about 216,000 policemen for core police duties.
The ALPSPN president also called on the Federal Government to recognize its members as part of the country’s national security architecture, insisting that: “We request for a seat in the National Security Council where we can proffer our ideas on how we can strengthen national security efforts and initiatives”.
While responding, the Minister of Interior, who commended the ALPSPN for its contribution to security of lives and property in the country, said the current government was carrying out a general overhauling of the private security guards structure.
There are over 100 registration requests unattended to and Aregbesola said: “Reasons for holding back registration of private security guard companies is to ensure that we don’t register just anybody under this government. We want to be sure of the integrity of people involved.
“Secondly, we are working on regulation that will encourage efficiency. We are packaging regulation that will make you smart, efficient and effective”.
While promising to recommend reforms that will put the ALPSPN members on a strong footing to contribute to national security, the minister charged the executive to enforce discipline amongst members.
He called for more collaboration between the ALPSPN members and state security architecture for intelligence sharing