Risk Control Services is the Nigerian leader in providing multinational companies with customized security solutions and consulting services focused on fulfilling asset protection needs for business operations in Nigeria. Its services such as Background Checks, Security Risk Assessment, Accredited Security Training, Security Consulting, Anti-Counterfeits Services, and Forensic Solutions are the most trusted in Nigeria. Risk Control Services' range of consulting offerings enables businesses to meet specific security requirements using its custom built security solutions backed by stringent quality guarantees. FinIntell recently caught up with the CEO of Risk Control Services, Mr. Olufemi A. Ajayi. In this inter- view, he speaks about Assets Protection, Security Consulting, Background Checks, Risk Assessment, Causes of insecurity in the country and possible solutions.
What is your motivation for starting up a security solution company?
I have a security background from the State Security Services (SSS) where i worked for over 18 years before leaving to work for Guaranty Trust Bank as head, Corporate Security. I did that for four (4) years before I left to establish Risk Control. So my security back- ground spans both the private and public sectors. This gave me a rare opportunity to x – ray security issues from a big picture perspective. I soon realised that there is a huge skill gap in security industry. So my motivation is to contribute using my experience in these two great organizations to address this skills gap. This is my motivation. Each time I look at our security challenges and the way we approach them, I realised that there is a lot where we can do better. So, Risk Control was set up basically to serve as a catalyst to transform the security industry in Nigeria.
As head of Corporate Security in Guaranty Trust Bank, i learnt a lot in terms of doing business the right way and corporate governance principles. It opened my eyes to the fact that problems are meant to be fixed. The bank for me, served as a school where I learnt a lot of things on how to do things right. It is that experience coupled with the public sector experience that cleared the air in my mind on what I needed to do and the way I should go about operating my business.
Tell us about the products & services Risk Control offers
Basically, security is about protection of lives and properties. We aim to deploy cutting edge risk mitigation security solutions to our clients. We provide security in a very unique way. Our core business is centered on; Security Risk Assessments, Background Checks, Security Training, Security Consulting, Anti- Counterfeiting Services and Forensic Solutions.
With our Security consulting service, we assist organizations to figure out their security challenges. Set up their security department, develop security policies, strategies or deploy security equipment we can assist in these regards. If organisations want to set up security department, they will need personnel who will work in that department. There are so many security men and women in Nigeria but not many of them have the skills and mentality and motivation to work in a corporate environment. So Risk Control Services can also assist the client to choose and train the right person amongst t he numerous purported d security personnel. Then, in understanding and assessing their risks, we seek to have a clear risk assessment method to identify and understand these risks. If you do not understand the risks you are assessing, you are likely to deploy ineffective or unsuitable security measures. Some of these security measures are quite expensive. Therefore, one has to fully understand and identify which security measures must be deployed.
Our background screening solutions are tailored to assist our clients to mitigate integrity risks. It is painful but true that, there is a big concern about integrity of many Nigerians. In an environment like that not conducting background checks can open you up to a needless loss that could be very costly.
Currently, most organisations try as much as possible to establish relation- ships with people they can trust. A lot of people especially those seeking employment tend to exaggerate their antecedents. As a company, if you do not manage that, you are going to enter into business relationship with dishonest people. In an organisation, one bad employee is enough to bring it down. So I can say that the issue of integrity is a major problem for most of our clients.
In terms of training and capacity development, our accredited security program is the best in the industry. We run a unique security academy known as Risk Control Academy that has accreditation by the National Board For Technical Education (NBTE). In the Academy we target young school leavers who want to be security professionals and protection specialists and not security guards, ie those who want to take security as a career. We give them the right orientation and knowledge. In Nigeria, a lot of people look at security from a narrow prism of guarding. But guarding is a very little aspect of security. Security is so broad that we have not even started to scratch the surface here in Nigeria. Based on these, Risk Control set up this academy based on international standard to train today’s protection specialists for tomorrows needs.
We teach the unique skills that are needed to protect our assets. The nation’s assets are many and include people, property, infrastructure, information, and image. Can one be comfortable leaving assets worth billions of dollars in the hands of security guards? This is exactly what we are conscious of. We also target those that are already in the security industry. They need to be re skilled. We have developed various certification programs that will give them the right skills thereby assuring anyone that employs them of competence comparable to their counterparts in the more advanced countries.
What edge does Risk Control Services has over other background check or security Companies in Nigeria?
Risk Control does her things differently. We are not in competition with other security companies because we do not have the same dream or purpose. We benchmark ourselves against international standards. We may not be there yet but that is our game plan. For instance when confronted with problems organizations face in quickly verifying educational claims of individuals, we developed a unique database of educational records of tertiary institutions in Nigeria that corporate organizations and government institutions have been utilizing in pre and post employment screening.
There is no private or public organization with such huge database in Nigeria. Most security companies are set up with the sole aim of making money. We are not a charitable organisation, we also want to make money but in doing so, we actually want to solve problems – real problems that are prevalent in the society. We want to contribute our own quota. Rather than staring at those problems and complaining, we want to provide solutions to these problems, and be the change that we want in that industry.
In your opinion, Why are there so much insecurity in Nigeria today?
We as a people have refused to do the right thing, and the consequence of that is what breeding insecurity in the country is today. Some of the insecurity drivers in the country are fundamental. The master driver is political instability. Even the current Boko Haram madness is 70-80% politics. When elections come, violence increases due to the do or die mentality of politicians to getting power. Another insecurity driver is the near collapse of law and order. What will prevent you from committing crime is the realisation of the fact that you are likely to be caught. If the consequence of an offence is death penalty, people will still commit the crime if they have the assurance they will not be caught. Respect for law and order is key to curbing crime. The third factor is the alarming unemployment rate in the country. Research has shown that there is positive correlation between unemployment and crime. Where you have high level of unemployment you cannot but have high level of crime. A poor man who does not know where his food is going to come from the next minute will take to the next available vices. If we don’t address all these fundamental insecurity drivers, other symptoms like robbery, kidnapping will continue to manifest.
The Nigerian security agencies need to be properly equipped with manpower and sophisticated arsenals. They need to be exposed to modern skills to combat crime. How can 100,000 military men secure 170 million people in a vast land? Bring the US military here, under staff them and under equip them and watch if they will not perform below Nigerian military. However, we urge our security agencies to be far more proactive rather than reactive. The y need to adopt modern techniques in their approach to crime fighting and prevention.
How can Risk Control help to tackle the insecurity in Nigeria?
Already we have started by establish- ing a risk and security based company that provides security services, helping to curb security challenges. The area we think we will have a lot of impact is training through our Risk Control Academy. Our focus here is to build capacity such that whenever there is the need for recruitment into security agencies, we make available people with top class security orientations. People that will easily fit in with minimal training. Currently, a lot of recruitment is going on in the military. Unfortunately, majority of these recruits have no idea what security entails. This is exactly where Risk Control comes in. We seek to bridge the knowledge gap in the security industry. When you pass through our security academy, you will personally be equipped to handle security challenges even by establishing your own company without working with any of the security agencies. The take away here is security awareness, solutions expertise and entre- preneurial ship.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
First of all, you have to know and be truthful to yourself. It is not everybody that can be an entrepreneur. You do not become an entrepreneur by just listen- ing to a fascinating tape recorder. A lot of people that are supposed to be employees quickly became entrepreneurs because someone gave them a heart warming lecture. You need to learn certain things about yourself and the business. Develop the basic skills for the business. A lot of things are involved but you do not need to have everything before starting up.
Ask yourself, what is my motivation for this business? Most entrepreneurs are not motivated by the quest to make money in the short term. They are motivated by solving problems. If your sole aim is to make money be rest assured that within two (2) years, you would have realised your dream and pack up. An aspiring entrepreneur should have an enduring power because the road is rough. Challenges are enormous. You need to be able to hang in there for a long time while helping the society to solve some problems. You need to be focused. Do not be discouraged when results are delayed.