‘Security should be everyone’s business’

Augusta-PeterAugusta Peter is chief executive Officer of Brain & Braces Limited, a private security firm. She told GERALDINE AKUTU that insecurity in Nigeria should be taken seriously and everyone should be vigilant and proffer suggestions to security problems.

What is your firm doing in the area of insecurity?
We are very proactive, as security is evolving. There is a particular training we called ‘Emerging Trends and Threats in Security.’
As a nation, the problems of security were never part of our living, and because of this, it seems we were not prepared. That is why we are probably having the current multiple issues, such as bombing, insecurity, kidnapping and other evil vices.
In the face of all this, we decided to train our guards, so that they can be in the know and are vigilant to enable them keep abreast with happenings in this regard.

At the height of insecurity in the country, I underwent a special course in homeland security and productive profiling in Israel in 2013 to learn more on security. For every crime, there is a psychology. No criminal will come out without having a mindset.

As a security operative, there is the need to understand the psychology of the criminal or fraudster, because if you know, you will be able to mitigate it. You don’t have to search the person to know that he/she is carrying a gun. When you are trained with an eye for predictive profiling, you can detect a lot with body language.

We train our guards on what a bomb looks like, how to blow the whistle, what to suspect, how to profile a customer to know whether he/she has criminal tendencies or not in order to deliver best projections for our client.

What is your take on the use of females and under-aged children as suicide bombers by the insurgents?
The major security challenge we are facing right now in the country has to do with the fact that we are unprepared to tackle the problem head-on.

As a security operative, there is the need to understand the psychology of the criminal or fraudster, because if you know, you will be able to mitigate it. You don’t have to search the person to know that he/she is carrying a gun. When you are trained with an eye for predictive profiling, you can detect a lot with body language.

Consequently, there were no proper trainings and equipments to prepare our minds for the realities in this wise. Even as citizens, there are measures we can take to ensure that the issue of security is properly addressed. After this, we can then begin talking corporate security, national security and so on.

It is not just a matter of having your house, school and all that secure. Anybody can fall victim and it can happen from anywhere. So, people should be security conscious and know what is happening around them.

When I went for that training, my eyes were opened because before now, what security operatives did was just search your car and stretch their necks to see what is in there, but security goes beyond that. People didn’t know that Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) could be laced in a belt, Bible, doll or that a baby or child can carry it.

So, because in our culture, babies and children are treated tenderly and it would ordinarily not occur to you to search them. But for all you know, that doll the baby or child is carrying may have an IED hidden in it.
With constant training of men in the security forces the Police, the Army, etc., they will know the modes criminals and bombers are likely to adopt.

Who would have thought that women and under-aged children would be used for such things? They have been brainwashed before they could carry out such dastardly operations. But now that they have been appropriated for such use, they all have to be searched, and thoroughly too.
There are countries today where the hijab is not allowed, because that covering may have something underneath. With the advancement of the different modes of terrorism and terrorist attacks, there is a need for us, as security practitioners and agents, to up our game in the knowledge that we have in the profession and the modes of crime and criminalities.

What are your expectations from the new government in the area of security of lives and property?
Government should empower security personnel, including the military and Police, and improve security in our borders.
If the right equipment are deployed and the men are trained with the right skills to mitigate crime and safeguard lives and property, we will have enough men and women able to give the protection that the country needs.

National security is not a one-spot thing, but affects the borders, sea and so on. Our borders, sea and other areas should be well taken care of.More importantly, the recruitment process should be looked into to ensure that it is the right people with the right frame of mind that are being employed into our security agencies, so that the works of the existing ones will not be sabotaged.



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