RICHARD AMUWA is the Managing Director of Mega Guards Services. The man who is passionate about the issues around security is also the current national publicity director of Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners in Nigeria. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, he talks about what the sector entails the challenges, inspiration and more.
What and who inspired you to go into the security sector?
My inspiration started as a young boy when I worked with a security company installing CCTV cameras and providing security services.
My interaction with people, who could afford it, helped me to understand that people are not security-conscious and aware of what to do and why they need security services.
I must say that DSS Dennis Amachree (Retd) inspired me to further delve into security. He is one of my mentors till date and he continues to inspire me in the field.
What are some of the things you have done in the sector?
The passion took me on air and I am the CEO and Executive Director of Security 24/7 on Radio & Television where I have been educating Nigerians on how to be security conscious for the past nine years. I have done things with Top Radio 90.9fm and Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1fm.
The sector is very interesting and it takes you through the different aspects with passion. I am also the president and project director of Nigeria Security Profile Awards (NISPA) and MD/CEO Richflavour Communication Ltd. This motivated me to put my ideas together and I am the author of some security books for children. These include “Security and Safety Tips for Children”, “Security and safety guide for Teens and Guardians” as well as “Security and Safety Education”. One other thing that occupies my time is a non-government organization titled “Child Safety Education and Protection Initiative”. I am the national president and our main objective is to educate and enlighten children, parents and caregivers on security and safety.
What are the challenges?
The challenges are enormous but I usually do not allow that to deter me in any way. One of such challenges is getting people to understand the need to provide themselves with qualitative security services at a good cost.
What I have discovered over the years is that people will rather choose to go with quacks than professionals because it is a cheaper alternative.
Secondly, you also find that the personnel trained to work as security guards, don’t take the job as a profession or a career and passion is usually missing. Instead, they actually see it as a step to further get other jobs.
That and so many other unforeseen issues reveal that people who run security outfits experience so many cases of instability when it comes to staffing because most guards see security as a temporal job.
The other challenge is in respect of other government security agencies not supporting the private security and not taking advantage of the numeric power the private security possess.
Government at all levels are not recognising the importance and activities of private security services.
Another major challenge is multiple taxes collected from private security and paying yearly license renewal is a burden in view of the economic situation.
What are the memorable moments for you?
Some memorable moments in the sector to me were when we inaugurated a national body for licensed private security companies called “Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN)” and the association now has different chapters across 36 states in Nigeria.
And also, the yearly conference/training for CEOs organised by the association and NSCDC is also memorable as we get to learn new security innovations.
Tell us about your recent book on security?
The book is about the child safety education and protection initiative. Its sole aim and objective is educating children on security and training them to become ambassadors of security and safety.
With all the evidence that shows the prevalence of insecurity all around, there is a clear indication of how important it is for our children, especially teenagers, to be empowered through security and safety education to enable them prepare for the prevailing security and safety challenges in our society today.
We need to ask basic questions like, what is it that some teenagers got their hands on that enabled them to be security and safety aware and conscious? Also required is a security and safety model that helps lucky children tap into and leverage the greatest strengths within them. The simple answer is: information.
Within the realm of those who arraign security and safety success through information are two types of people – the people that seek information. It is on the category of information providers that we choose to publish the teenage booklet – Security & Safety Guide for Teens and Guardian.
This simplified security and safety booklet provides teenagers with the information needed to be safety and security-conscious daily. It is delivered in a simple, easy-to-understand manner that will ensure that your children do not become overwhelmed and instead continue to learn.
What are you looking forward to in the nearest few years?
I look forward to seeing a security-conscious country where private practitioners are called upon to assist in creating secured environments for every child and woman.
I also look forward to having a child security and safety centre where children are counselled, trained and oriented about security basics. As the president of Child Safety Education and Protection Initiative, a non-governmental organisation on children security and safety, whose sole aim and objective is educating children on security and training them to become ambassadors of security and safety, I would love to take security to the nook and cranny of the country to school children.
We have been doing this for the past nine years and would love to do more. Hence, we seek support of local and international organisations in making sure that children are security-oriented from their earliest ages and safety equipped for a better future.
Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life and career?
Mr. Dennis Amachree and Mr. Davidson Akhinmien are both the greatest influence in my career. My family also influenced me.
Let’s compare when you started your career and now; what has changed?
When I started my career, insecurity in the country was minimal and security situation then was not as terrible. Compared to now that people are security-oriented and informed, the influence of technology has also changed the face of security compared to when we started.
People now see security as a need for their day-to-day lives; individuals, organisations and government pay extra attention to security, unlike before.
What are some of the changes you would like to see in the country?
I would love to see private security outfit getting involved in the country’s security operations. The need for police to be institutionalised and community policing to be introduced in different communities. Also, I would want to see great involvement of private security practitioners in the nation’s security services.
What lessons has life taught you?
Life has taught me patience; to take it one step at a time, trust God, give back to my community. Life has taught me that life itself is a process.
What are some of the things you treasure most in life?
I treasure my family, my happiness, my sane state of mind and people that work with me. I also treasure my happy space.
How do you relax?
I relax by watching movies, listening to music and hanging out with my beautiful wife. And sometimes I read to relax.
What are some of the principles you hold unto?
That life is a process and you must follow through. “Que sera sera (what will be, will be)”. And also morality pays.
Let’s talk about the people you admire and role models
I admire President Muhammad Buhari while I was growing up because of his Spartan lifestyle. I also admire Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his leadership qualities. I admire the executive governor of Anambra State, Gov. Willie Obiano, for his generosity to the different communities in Anambra State. Femi Otedola is one of my role models in business because he believed in me and gave me my first breakthrough in security business.
If you had to advise young people, what would you tell them?
That life is a process. Be determined to succeed no matter the obstacles. Taking the easy way out is not an option. It is better to choose a mentor to influence you positively.
Source: The Nation