Barrister Amali, the President/CEO of Concentric Security & Consultancy Services Limited is a seasoned security professional with over four decades of cognate experience in both the public and private sector. The organisation is a leading indigenous security service provider cutting across all sectors of the Nigerian Economy. Amali, who was recently elected as the National President of Idoma National Forum spoke on the security situation in the country in this interview with our reporter, Nnamdi Nwokolo.
You trained as a Lawyer, what’s the attraction to security?
People have always wondered what a lawyer is doing in the security circle. Security is my core constituent as I’ve worked all my life in the security circle even before I became a Lawyer. I worked and retired successfully from the Department of state Services after 35 years of meritorious service to join Coca-Cola International, Atlanta as the Asset Protection Manager for the whole of West Africa for another nine years. Having garnered experience in the public and private sectors, I decided to set up Concentric Security & Consultancy Services Limited with a view to use my experience to consistently offer improved security solutions using current technology, well trained and motivated staff.
What has been your biggest challenge in setting up the organisation?
The biggest challenge most entrepreneurs face in Nigeria is raising finance to put together their dreams. Unfortunately, Nigerian banks were not structured to assist start ups especially those not related to buying and selling as they could not understand their language. The other challenge is that a new security company springs up almost every other day, so the industry looks like an all comers affair. I’m advocating for a paradigm shift in the industry to make the industry more professionalised. For us at Concentric, training is a key component of our corporate culture. We have minimum qualifications for our man guards, so as to make the difference in the industry. Our corporate culture is tailored towards replicating what is obtainable in advanced countries, for example, there’s a minimum qualification before you become a guard in South Africa or in the U.K. I have on record that private security operatives in the US are more in number than in the US Army, to show you the extent the profession has grown in those climes but here people come into the profession as a stepping stone to other ventures.
What is the role of all stakeholders to make it more professional?
We belong to a respected and renowned association which is the American Society for Industrial Security as well as Association of private security practitioners in Nigeria. However, with due respect, we have a regulatory body in the country but it’s quite unfortunate that security as a profession in Nigeria is still at infancy. If we have developed security to a certain level that some categories of professionals are allowed to bear arms, it would’ve been helpful in making the country more secured. We work in close relationship with police and Lagos state has really tried in terms of security as you can put a call to a certain no and you get a rapid response from the security operatives. We are not yet where we ought to be, but overtime with proper planning and cooperation from all stakeholders, we’ll get there.
As a professional, with the security challenge in the country, what advice would you give to government to stem the tide? This is the area I’ve spoken about at public forums. I single out Lagos state for commendation in terms of motivating and equipping the Rapid Response Squad. It will interest you to know that no other state has come close to what Lagos state has done in terms of security. Above all, We’ve never had this type of security challenge before in the country. My advocacy is that wars are not won at the battle field but on the dialogue table. I still advocate that government should still apply dialogue with these people. We should not let whatever agitations lead to war. I believe it is to the advantage of everybody for us to remain as one as there’s strength in number. This number translates to a huge market for everybody. We should find a way of resolving all agitations.
Focus/Projections in the next couple of years:
Our focus in the next couple of years is to diligently apply ourselves to re-engineer, energize, revitalize and take security management and delivery to such a level where the culture of operational excellence becomes our watchword which will effectively catalyze the industrial, economic and social development of Nigeria. The idea is that no nation develops in the midst of security challenges. In this regard, we seek to be the leading security firm in the country. The company has acquired a wide range of experience in virtually all facets of security consulting in almost all the fields of human endeavour. Meanwhile our customer focused approach has been a competitive advantage for us. We are also into training and development of other security organizations, so apart from growing Concentric; I want to see a paradigm shift in security practice in Nigeria to become more professional in the country so that people can begin to take it up as a career.
Advice to young entrepreneurs:
They should strive to acquire adequate knowledge about the ideas and solutions they want to offer in their business specialty especially for service oriented business bordering on consultancy. Because technology is constantly changing, they must continually up date themselves intellectually. Invest their seed money into substantial research and development on the proposed business before rollout and work to sustain the R&D, even after roll out. Build upon a culture anchored on application of best business ethical standards of integrity, honesty, truthfullness and fair play. Armed with exceptionally good understanding of the proposed business added to personal attributes of honesty, integrity, it is possible to obtain financial assistance from rich individuals who might wish to share in your enterprise’s dream.
I use to tell people that security is everybody’s job but the security of everyone is my job. You have to draw a line between work and life. We find time once in a while to travel for vacation abroad when we can afford it and when we cannot; we go to Oturkpo for vacation as that is my best holiday destination. I’m a member of Ikoyi club as well as a community leader. To the glory of God, exactly one month ago; I was elected as the President of Idoma National Forum, a socio economic group for the whole Idoma people. The current security situation in Idoma land is unacceptable and as the President of Idoma National Forum, we are planning a security summit with all stakeholders to fashion out the best way to stem the tide of kidnapping and senseless bloodletting which is alien to Idoma land.