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Private Security Outfits in Nigeria Who Regulates Them

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In Nigeria, there are many private security outfits providing services to the financial sector, the private sector and many other commercial ventures. Like many other services rendering companies, one may wonder how and who polices these quasi-policemen. Well, your answer lies below.

LICENSING

By virtue of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act, 2007 (the “NSCDC Act”), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (“NSCDC”), has the mandate to oversee and regulate the activities of Private Guards Companies (“PGCs”). Section 3(1), (b), (c) of the Act states that the NSCDC may:

 1.make recommendations to the Minister of Internal Affairs on the registration of PGCs;

2.from time to time, inspect the premises of PGCs, their training facilities and approve same if it is up to standard;

3. supervise and monitor the activities of all PGCs and keep a register for that purpose;

4. periodically, organize workshops and training courses for private guard companies, and seal up any PGC that operates without a valid license.

Currently, the supervision of private guards’ operations is handled through the Private Guards Companies Department of NSCDC.

 The Private Guards Companies Act Cap. P30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (the “Act”), stipulates the general regulations governing the operation and activities of PGCs. The training syllabus and instruction notes of PGCs must be screened and approved by the Minister of Interior. The Act provides that no organisation shall perform the service of watching, guarding, patrolling or carrying of money for the purpose of providing protection against crime unless the organisation is licensed by the Minister of Interior (the “Minister”). An application for a licence should be in writing through the NSCDC to the Minister in the manner, and giving such particulars, as specified the Act.

The following are the criteria that must be met by an applicant:

1. Incorporate a company at the Corporate Affairs Commission, with a minimum share capital of ten million Naira (10 million Naira);

 2. No fewer than two of the board members must be retired senior security agents from government owned security agencies; and

 3. The Articles of Association of the company must contain a clause indicating that the company is engaged in the provision of security services.

In addition to the above requirement for licencing, there are a number of other industry registrations that are required of a PGC intending to operate in the different sectors of the Nigerian economy.  For instance, the operation of any company within the oil and gas sector in Nigeria is subject to obtaining a licence from the Department of Petroleum Resources. Also, to be eligible to provide services to some Nigerian organisations (such as like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) registration with the Nigerian Petroleum Exchange is required. 

A licence is issued for a specific period and an application for a renewal must be made three months before the expiration of the licence. The Minister also has the power to revoke a licence where the licensee breaches any of the conditions or terms of the licence. Although there seems to be no territorial restriction to the operation of a PGC, the law requires that the licence states the number of offices, branches and other places of business the company is permitted to maintain.

BEARING OF FIREARMS BY PGCs

PGC are not authorised to bear or possess firearms in the course of their duties. It is an offence for anyone working for a PGC to bear or possess firearms. However, a bill is pending at the National Assembly for the amendment of the Private Guard Companies Act Cap. P30 L.F.N. 2004. It proposes inter alia for the arming of some ‘qualified’ personnel of the PGCs.

Until this Act is passed, the powers of the PGCs is limited to providing intelligence and supporting the public security outfits in the prevention and combating of crimes.

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