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Nigeria’s Private Security Industry Set For Reform

"A major part of the reform is to repeal and re-enact the Private Guards Company Act of 1986." Says Tunji-Ojo, Interior Affairs Minister.

The need for comprehensive reforms of the critical role of the private security industry within Nigeria's national security framework, has formed the nexus of discussions at a stakeholders Consultative Meeting held in Abuja, the nation's capital.

Speaking at the Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on Nigeria Private Security Guards Industry held on Tuesday 21st May 2024, in Abuja, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo said a major part of the reform is to repeal and re-enact the Private Guards Company Act of 1986. 

This is necessary to modernise the regulatory framework, ensuring it meets current industry standards and addresses contemporary security challenges.

"Since I became Minister of Interior, I have not signed a single license because I have yet to see a proposal that meets my aspirations for the industry.

"The private security sector is a multi-billion-dollar industry and must earn a place of pride and respect. We do not have the boots on the ground to effectively secure 200 million people, so we must build an industry we can be proud of", Tunji-Ojo said. 

To enhance the industry’s standards, the Minister also announced the introduction of a categorisation system for private security company licenses. This system specifies different grades based on share capital and fees, all of which must meet certain rigorous requirements.

For a Grade A licence which offers national coverage, companies must have a share capital of N100 million, pay a license fee of N10 million, and an annual renewal fee of N200,000. Grade B (Zonal) requires a share capital of N50 million, a license fee of N5 million and annual renewal fee of N300,000. 

Similarly, Grade C (State) has a share capital of N30 million, license fee of N3 million, and annual renewal fee of N500,000, while Grade D (City/Local Government) has a share capital of N10 million, license fee of N1 million, annual renewal fee of N100,000.

The Minister also stressed the need for thorough background checks and adequate training for private guards. "Private guards cannot rely on native intelligence alone; specified courses for career progression will become mandatory," he said.

Speaking on the issue of uneven remuneration of private security guards, Tunji-Ojo assured that the reforms will align guard remuneration with the National Minimum Wage Act to ensure fair compensation.

He added that last December, the Federal Executive Council, approved the establishment of a Guard Management System, which will oversee the entire licensing process and ensure standardisation within the industry.

A tripartite committee led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr. Aishetu Gogo Ndayako, has been established to develop criteria and qualifications for the classification of private security companies. 

This committee includes three members each from the Ministry of Interior, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and the Association of Private Security Guards in Nigeria, with a three-week timeline to deliver their report.

Dr. Ndayako encouraged stakeholders to actively participate and share ideas that will shape the future of private security guard services in Nigeria. 

In the same vein, the Commandant-General of NSCDC, Ahmed Audi, highlighted ongoing efforts to digitise the license renewal process and pledged continued collaboration with operators to enhance system efficiency.

During the interactive session, private security guard operators, led by the National President of the Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr. Chris Adigwu, identified industry challenges and requested the Ministry’s intervention to address these issues.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by Ozoya Imohimi, Director Information and Public Relations of the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

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