Segun Atolagbe, a Lagos based Security Consultant and Managing Director of SEGATOL Security Services Limited has been in security business since the age of 19 as a guard with Ranx Xerox. In 1986 he went for study leave without pay and returned in 1989 to Ranx Xerox as a security guard. He had nine years experienced with Axe Able Security Services and another four years with Closed Watch Security. He formed SEGATOL Security Services in 2007. He is a member of many security organizations both home and Abroad. He was in University of Lagos for a diploma course in Advanced Security Operations and Management. Atolagbe also have interest in properties, oil and gas. After two failed attempts at getting him interviewed, SECURITY MONITOR managing editor Wale Abideen and photo editor Shola Akinyele engaged the man whose passion centered on security in a two hours discussion.
AS AN EXPERIENCED SECURITY STAKE HOLDER, HOW WILL YOU RATE NIGERIA SECURITY POLICY?
Nigeria surfers from policy summersault. There is always inconsistent in the policy as one inspector of police, I.G.P comes he introduces new policy and another I.G.P takes over only to bring another policy. For example the former I.G.P Suleiman Abba allows the use of siren for private security providers, but the current I.G.P Arase came on board and abolished that policy. He might have reasons for that but it is what I called policy summersault .However, Nigeria is still developing and it is expected that the trial and error system may be in place. I think we should develop faster than this more So that we are accessible to the whole world through the internet. We have are room for expansion but for now we have not done well.
CAN YOU PLEASE SUGGEST MEASURES TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM OF INCONSISTENCY IN THE SECURITY POLICY?
The fact that Nigeria is heterogeneous is a plus and minus. Any policy maker will like to consider the differences in our tribe, culture, religion and so on. Therefore, I must be honest with you. We will soon get there because we are improving.
LET TALK ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY, DO YOU AGREE WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT WAR AGAINST INSURGENCY HAS BEEN WON?
If you compare what we have now with what we had during the previous administration you will agree with the present government the war has been won. Although, the war may not have been fully won, but we are doing better now and it is very impressive. However, there have been a good synergy among all the security agencies but we can do it better than this and in my own opinion, I want to suggest that the federal government should look at the idea of state police. The adage says that it is the rat in the house that will show the one in the bush where the meat in the cupboard is kept. If you have police men drawn from the community they would be able to do better policing than someone who come from far place. I want federal government to involve elderly people in security. In some foreign countries, they used elderly people to supply information. The elderly people who sit at home will see a lot of things and hears a lot than young people who jump here and there looking for money. Security agencies can tap from the knowledge of elders. They can engage the elders in getting information about the characters within their vicinities. The old men and woman know how some of the youths graduated from hemp smoking to cocaine snuffing. This information can nip crime in the bud as security agency can arrest the cocaine addicted lad before he started carrying fire arms. Such young adult can be rehabilitated before the situation goes out of hand.
Youth unemployment rate is high when you look at the faces of people around the cities you will see that they are not happy. The problem of electricity must be confronted headlong before we could talk about camera television to monitor crime. I have close circuit television (CCTV) in my house, I have to back it up with inverter and even with that I have to supply generator and solar power generation to charge the inverter. All these things are big challenges that must be looked into by government to eradicate insecurity.
THE PROBLEM OF ELECTRONIC FRAUD IS BECOMING ALARMING AND JUST RECENTLY A YOUNG MAN STRIPPED HIMSELF NAKED IN THE BANKING HALL CLAIMING THAT ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTHY THOUSAND NAIRA(#150,000) DISSAPEARD FROM HIS ACCOUNT?
You see two wrong don’t make a right. How can you descend so low by stripping yourself naked in a banking hall? One day I was driving along Ebute-metta area of Lagos and I saw a commercial driver who naked him self protesting his arrested by Lagos State Transport Management Agency( LASTMA ) instead of following them to their office and lodge complain. The government that established them will not tolerate highhandedness and in the past some LASTMA officials have been prosecuted for wrong doing so, stripping yourself naked in banking hall is wrong.
By and large, the issue of bank fraud is is a big issue. I have my reservation about Nigerian banks. It appears the commercial banks usually frustrate people who are doing genuine business and they connive with criminal elements to perpetuate fraud. Recently we heard in the News that Billions of stolen government money were traced to forth (40) different bank accounts and these accounts were owned by companies without Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C) registration. How do they opened bank accounts without proper registration. It is either they faked the registration documents or some people in the banks are their accomplices.
I opened an account with a particular bank some months ago and up till today they are yet to give me check books. They told me they are still doing investigation on my company authentication. Did they verify those fake or unregistered companies too? Do they treat them the way they treated me. And we learnt of 2.1 billion dollars were stolen from government covers. This money was not taken by cash. The banks in my own opinion are culpable whenever we talk about electronic fraud or corruption. Be it in government offices or private establishments, no corruption war can be fought without the banks involvement. They are prime suspects. I stand to be corrected through, but that is my opinion. If I have my ways, I will call banks executives in Nigeria to question over corruption crimes in the country.
Just yesterday, Central Bank of Nigeria (C.B.N) said they have discovered over 2 billion naira over charged by commercial banks. These over charges have left bitter stories in many mouths. Imagine, if I have ten thousand naira in my account and the bank removed out of it and I go to the bank with the aims of withdrawing the money. So, the issue is I can not withdraw the ten thousand naira. So, how many people will I tell that one thousand naira or so was missing in my account? Many people will just ignore it and if you multiply one thousand naira in hundred times it is not small money again. These are parts of what financial regulatory agencies must look into. The government, ministry of finance, CBN and anti-graft agencies must beam search lights into the activities of the commercial banks. Many of them are corrupt and aided corrupt politicians. We need to strictly monitor them to stop corrupt practices.
CAN YOU PLEASE ADVISE PEOPLE ON HOW TO GUIDE AGAINST ELECTRONIC FRAUD?
We must be vigilant, we must source for information and not only that we must make use of the information when you get the information. For example, through SECURITY MONITOR platforms we are getting so many reports, I get to know that fraudster will arrest you at the A.T.M point on Friday collect your A.T.M and they know that no way you can report to bank till following Monday. So, whatever happen to your account between Friday evening and Monday morning is at your risk, if it possibly don’t go and withdraw on Friday evening, don’t go to unsafe places to make withdrawal. Go to populated places such as garage, even campus is okay. Airports is better and be vigilant after withdrawer so that you will take note of people following you. As individual you must be your own security officer first, we must be able to secure our family and our business and instill security consciousness into them by doing so and perhaps if every body plays his/her role very well before calling on security agency, the society will be better and the security agencies will have less job to do.
DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF THE SECURITY AGENCY AT CURTAILING CYBER CRIME, THE CRIMINAL KNOWS AS YAHOO BOYS STILL PERPETUATE THE CRIME.WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS?
I don’t believe security agencies alone can eradicate cyber crime. People have wise up these days, gone are the days, you’ll receive a call that someone want to send you a goods and that you should pay certain amount of money for the clearance. I will ask you. Why me? Don’t you have people who are in needs in your family? If you see anybody calling you claiming to offer you something free, please beware because there is nothing free any where. Of course security agencies can not fight cyber crime because they lack the training and resources to do so.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE POLICE CAN BE REPOSITIONED FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE?
The government should engage them in training and re-training. There should be constant electricity for when there is light the criminals will be noticed easily even at nights. Also the police should be allowed to give security talk especially to groups, associations, communities or traditional leaders and cooperative society, they should also educates the religious body such as Christian associations, NASFAT and even go to churches and mosques to educate Nigerians on security. Police should have a department for security education and enlightenment, this will not only achieved all around security consciousness it will also bridge communication gap between the police and the general public. A lot of people are victims of fraud and insecurity because they lack security education.
TECHNOLOGY IS RULLING THE WORLD NOW, IS NIGERIA TAPPING INTO SECURITY TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT?
We have the opportunity but are handicapped because without electricity no technological devices can be effective.
WHAT IS THE BEST FORM OF PROTECTIONS FOR VEHICLE?
Combination of two to three types of security gadget is required to secure vehicles with this modern style of robbery. Pedal lock is good provided you use good padlock. But I have seen where people’s vehicle were stolen despite the fact they used pedal lock; there are other security system like fuel cut and tracking devices. All these must be used to maintain maximum security
DO YOU THINK PRIVATES SECURITY COMPANIES IN NIGERIA ARE LIVING UP TO EXPECTATION?
Most of the private security companies in Nigeria are into business they are looking for means to an end. Government police can not be everywhere. There is need for government to make use of the private guards in term of security information and alertness, if there is a crime in any area police can approached the guards in that area, obtain information from them and treat it with confidentiality without exposing the guards, also the issue of multiple taxation is killing the private security companies. However lack of infrastructure like motor able roads and electricity are also problems. It is also regrettable to say that the guards we have nowadays are not like before. Some of them prefer to ride okada and make more money than collecting 25 thousand naira as guards. Another thing is that there is no data, I expect monitoring agency to have accurate data of all security guards in the country, so that if you are found wanting you will simply be blacklisted and no other company will employ you.
ARE NIGERIA BANKS WELL EQUIPED TO MONITOR E-TRANSACTION AGAINST FRAUD?
That questions will be answered by bank directors because they can’t disclosed how equipped they are to anyone. What ever we can say on our part is based on their performances.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON C.B.N REGULATARY POLICY?
We heard recently how C.B.N claims to have discovered excessive charges by commercial banks. That means C.B.N is doing its job effectively. Though, the need to improve in terms of preventing such financial fraud and prosecuting defaulters is highly imperative.
HOW CAN COOPERATIONS BE BEST ACHIEVED AMONG ALL SECURITY AGENCIES IN THE COUNTRY?
I believed that is been achieved already that is why there is joint task force on terrorism. Also you will recall when some notorious robbers used Lagos water ways to attack banks; the Nigeria Navy collaborated with police till the robbers were arrested. The newly procured helicopters by Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode would have been in operation with the support of Nigeria Air force.
INSURGENCY IN THE NORTH ARM ROBBERY IN THE SOUTH, KIDNAPING AND OIL THEFT IN SOUTH-SOUTH AND SOUTH EAST. WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO TO SALVAGE THE SITUATION?
First of all government should take care of food security. And that will now takes us back to issue of unemployment. If some body is hungry and there is no means to get food, he will be ready to go extra miles to secure food. Government should encourage large scale farming by providing loan to agricultural practitioners; moreover government should discourage criminality by encouraging productivity by not celebrating corrupt tendencies, constant supply of electricity is highly imperative for a developing nation, these will keep idle youth engaged.
Again there should be strict laws against criminality, Nigerians should desist from ethno-religion sentiment that prevent corrupt politicians from been prosecuted. Nowadays in Lagos state people drive with caution, because there is a governor who will stop at nothing to prosecute traffic offenders.