Fred Itua, Abuja
Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN), has called on the relevant authorities to amend Section 17 of Private Guard Decree of 1986, as amended in 2004, which prohibits private security guards from carrying arms.
It said it is not cast in stone. It said various Acts, Decrees and Laws have been amended and are being amended. He said to amend the Private Guard Decree, which is long overdue, is not out of place given emerging threats and socio-political realities.
“We use this opportunity to appeal for the amendment of the Private Guard Decree of 1986 to incorporate the carrying of arms of private guards as well as other salient amendments that will strengthen the functions of the ALPSPN to better serve the country,” national president of ALPSPN, Wilson Esangbedo said in a statement.
Faulting a newspaper editorial, he said it got it wrong to have advocated that private security guards should not bear arms.
He said: “On March 20, 2020, the much respected newspaper, Daily Trust, set out to discredit the initiative of the on the arming of its personnel.
“The editorial is a fallout of the association’s appeal to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, for private security guards in Nigeria to be permitted to bear arms.
“It is gratifying to note that the newspaper did not fault the argument of the ALPSPN on the global examples of private security guards bearing arms, rather the newspaper dwelled on other industry issues such minimum wage, alleged ostentatious and lavish lifestyles of chief executives of private security firm owners and clerical functions of some private security guards where they are posted to.
“One, the issue of minimum wage is a nation-wide challenge which even state governments with humungous allocations from the federation account are finding it hard to implement. However, the association dare say that it fares better in remuneration and working condition more than most organisations.
“It is something of a surprise to insinuate, conjure and engage in red herring that private security firm owners live in opulence. Most of those engaged in providing added security services to organisations and individuals have staked all their long services and investment in this venture. To give a dog a bad name is unfortunate. Our members live modestly and contributed greatly to the economy of this country.
“It is true that some of our workers are assigned task which is not in their operational manual by those they are assigned to. It happens even to the police, other paramilitary services and even the military. While we do not justify this extra assignment, society adds additional burden to their functions which we are addressing frontally.
“Most importantly, private security guards have found themselves, and will continue to find themselves in position to stop robberies, thefts and other threats if they were armed. The fact that insecurity persists is enough reason why private security guards should have the opportunity to contribute their quota to the security and well-being of their communities and institutions.
“If the newspaper is unaware, private guards continue to provide credible intel to core security organs which have led to apprehension and nipping in the bud of serious crimes. The inside facts are usually not for public consumption.”