Ex-NSA Commander Wants Private Security Officers Armed

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Mr. Cyrus and other dignitaries posed with the graduates.

— To help beef up national security

A security expert and former commander of the National Security Agency (NSA) is stressing the need for the government to permit officers and agents of a select group of top private security firms operating in the country to bear arms—a a move that he believes will help beef up security efforts across the country, especially Monrovia, which is prone to incidences of crime.

Former NSA regional commander, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and General Manager of Security Expert Guard Agency of Liberia (SEGAL), Momo T. Cyrus, says the national security apparatuses, including the Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), the National Security Agency (NSA and others do not have the man-power, capacities and capabilities to adequately provide security to the Liberian state and its people.

“We therefore need to see how best private security officers of top companies who are well trained and experienced can be armed to buttress the efforts of our national security apparatuses. This is a call to our government that it needs to consider because it will be of great help to not just the government but the country.” he said.

Mr. Cyrus made the appeal at the program marking the achievement awards ceremony in Aviation Security, Basic AVSEC STP 123 Course held at a local resort in Lower Margibi County last weekend. The audience witnessed the certification of 25 senior level officers of SEGAL who recently completed the course.

The SEGAL boss used the occasion to call on the government for collaboration that that will ensure that private security officers to be more involved in the security of the state.

“There is an immediate need for a strong collaboration between private security companies in the country and the government. We need a few selected private security officers to be armed,” he said.

Mr. Cyrus is an experienced NSA serviceman with a demonstrated history of working in the security and investigations industry. He is skilled in crisis management, budgeting, operations management, government, and personal security. He served the NSA from 1992 through April 2006.

He became the regional commander in March 2004 until his retirement. While serving as commander, he was responsible for the oversight of security operations of NSA operatives in Grand Bassa, Margibi and River Cess Counties.

He said that enforcement and private security partnerships are being practiced around the globe and there is a need for it in Liberia. “We are calling the Ministry of Justice to act now,” he said.

“The reason for this collaboration is that officers of private security firms are in far larger numbers than officers of the various national security apparatuses. And 65% of private security officers are former service men and women of the country—this means that they are well trained, experienced and disciplined,” he said.

Law enforcement agencies and private security partnerships, he said, will increase manpower and resources in order to prevent crime, maintain law and order, and ensure safety, peace and security.

The call for private officers to bear firearms was being considered during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration in an effort that was being pushed by then Defense Minister Brownie Samukai. He noted at that time that the need was pressing because of the level of crimes that were being perpetrated—a situation some believe is even worsening.

Others are also opposing this idea because, according to them, the country is still recuperating from the effects of war and allowing non-state security to bear arms would pose a danger to public safety.

Mr. Cyrus, who is widely known as a very aggressive private security solutions provider, said that such collaborative effort would help relieve government of some of the security stresses that it is currently experiencing. “We are of the strongest conviction that this collaboration would ensure some of the stresses are relieved of government and the police in terms of maintaining law and order,” he added.

Private security officers, Mr. Cyrus noted, have got enough experience and knowledge to partner with government to help beef up national security efforts.

It is believed that when this is done, it would lead to formal coordination agreements describing the mechanisms for exchanging information regarding vulnerabilities and risks; use community policing initiatives, strategies, and tactics to identify suspicious activities related to crime and terrorism.

The MOU would also establish a crime prevention information command center to coordinate the flow of information to all partners. Private security industry is the industrial version of law enforcement.

Mr. Cyrus said government stands to benefit more from such collaboration when sealed. If this partnership takes place, it will be our fervent request that the government provide the opportunity for a select group of private security officers to bear arms. “We are talking about well trained and experienced officers of reputable firms.

“There are a lot of incidences of crime that could be prevented if private security officers are given arms. They are most times around places of crime but won’t intervene because they are unarmed,” he said.

The SEGAL CEO noted that the perception Liberians and few others have that the country is still fragile is false and is not helping the development of the country. “We have had three successive elections and are somehow doing pretty well. Why are we still considering ourselves as a fragile nation? This is unfair to us. We must start to do what others around us are doing to develop their nation.”

Stressing the issue of human capacity development, Mr. Cyrus said there is one value that SEGAL continues to champion and that is “training, retraining and building the capacities of our officers. We will continue to do this till the end of time. The LAA is talking about training the officers every two years, but we are doing ours every six months.”

He indicated that SEGAL has started working out modalities to send three of its supervisors to Nigeria in a partnership deal with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for months where the top officers will have the opportunities to get outside experiences.

“We all know that theory is different from practical in acquiring knowledge. So we want our men to go and see how others are doing it out there get practical knowledge and first hand information, come back and teach others.

Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Justice, Edrick Noah, said that the government will look at the recommendation critically and see what can be done. He noted that there is a need for collaboration to help augment the security forces in the country.

Mr. Noah, who proxied for Justice Minister Musa Dean, lauded the graduates for the achievements.

AVSEC Manager at Liberia Aviation Authority, Nuah E. Padmore, lauded SEGAL for doing exceptionally well during the training. “I’m impressed with what this company is doing in the country. I have been monitoring SEGAL’s progress and I’m glad because the company has a unique program,” he said.

The trainer, Samson Udom Essien, praised the SEGAL officers for their outstanding performances, noting that they are the best he has seen in his professional trainers’ life.

“In my 19 years in the Aviation Industry, I have never conducted an AVSEC training that all participants both male and female were so enthusiastic in learning. Of course, this was why all the participants completed the training successfully, which was also my first experience,” he said, adding that he is glad that SEGAL now has well trained and willing to work personnel in the Aviation Security sector.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Are they asking for private armies?
    That is the job for AFL (Army, LNG, etc). In fact officers should only carry arms when actually needed?
    Government institutions should be equipped to service the nation; not private institutions?
    God bless us.

  2. This is gimmicky; however, in the end, Liberians will find out that what this has all been about is that the ruling party is fighting hard to protect its ungodly accumulation of wealth and prolong its stay in power.

    Sometimes the meaning of money is misconstrued and connoted with evil. But if the physical money was evil, then why should congregants use it to pay tithes and offerings to God? Or why should the churches, the synagogues, and mosques use it to conduct God’s business?

    What is evil about money is the “love or obsessive compulsion” that humans develop about it. And this is at the bottom of this issue and the exact scenario that the Weah administration faces now. This core of leadership has gained so much unconscionable wealth overnight that it is fleeing from its own shadow and is seeking for security under some dubious reasons.

    For time immemorial, the instrument of dictators has been waging wars of tyranny against the very people who elected them; disseminating propaganda under the pretense of protecting the citizens; arming and forming secret police apparatuses in order to quell political expressions and the freedom to assemble.

    Our country has had successions of tyrannical regimes during which times several secret security forces thrived on wasteful budgetary allocations. They included but were not limited to the Special Security Agency (SSS), the National Bureau of Investigation (NIB), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Doe’s SATU, Taylor’s Pepper Bush, and you name it.

    What has all this been about? It has all been about the unwillingness of our sitting presidents to peaceably transfer power as the result of their insatiable greed, insane accumulation of wealth, and the inordinate abuse of privilege and power.

  3. Although an old suggestion, it’s timely during these days of rising public safety anxieties. And like most resurrected ideas, a remake, vis-a-vis putting more flesh on bones, will be necessary. First of all, worldwide, except for those assigned at military installations and priority zones, private security guards are not only unarmed, but also have the same legal powers given all civilians. Second of all, their main duty is to “observe and report” – based on circumstances – to either their bosses, or the police for appropriate responders.

    Those factors presuppose that a proposal which arch encompasses national security shouldn’t be a sale pitch, or advertisement for few, as seemingly conveyed in the following: “A select group of top private security firms in the country to bear arms”. Instead, it must specify certification of some private security guards to carry arms according to assignments, not carte blanc for special security firms whose clients may include businessmen that simply want stores protected, or have other less risky tasks.

    Most importantly, two UN Security Council Assessment Reports backed by USAID’s established that Liberia is a “fragile and fractious state”. It would be a terrible mistake to underestimate the fragility when all indicators of potential instability are visible and reachable like hanging fruits.

    At the onset, I spoke of putting flesh on the bones of a timely and bold suggestion. Let’s not forget that LNP cannot meet even Monrovia’s policing needs. As a matter of fact, the American model of policing is expensive to be effectively replicated in Liberia. For practicable and sustainable public safety orientation, a comprehensive re-evaluation ought to be undertaken. Let’s be cost-effective by using the best of both worlds: American and British.

    In closing, the insinuation of “asking for private armies is so unfair; stop politicizing every sound idea simply to undermine it. That mentality has kept us backward and underdeveloped, and might have led to our first coup and the wanton murder of E.J.Roye in 1872! Unquestionably, Mr. Momo Cyrus is on to something here that has nothing to do with “private armies”. I salute his boldness, and am hoping others with ideas for resuscitating our inherited ailing economy will step up, too!

  4. Sylvester Moses, the private security industry is a feeder industry to the national security apparatus: therefore, it should be standardized.
    I believe that Mr. Cyrus failed to do his based assessment and vulnerability analysis to know that the private security industry of Liberia is not up to standard to be armed and the national security apparatus is vulnerable.

  5. Our main media outlets have been so much a ready and relentless mouthpiece for resisting any government not controlled by (their approved) self-entitled egotistical elites that threats to stability come daily in large and small doses. So, Edwin, talking of “national security” can sometimes be eerie, because, actually, Mama Liberia is at war with herself. Even before GMW’s Inauguration, the funeral bells of this regime were already being tolled by some, including two so-called Pan Africanist UL students.

    The flooding of the market with billions of Liberian dollars to set off runaway inflation; the coordinated undermining by the press of government’s earliest attempts at getting essential foreign loans; the endless demonization, with or without basis, of the regime as corrupt after PUL got over a quarter million U.S dollars from a kleptocracy; the financial enabling of UL students’ militancy; the sprouting-up of anti-establishment groups such as economic terrorists, COP, etc. are all geared toward delegitimizing the political leadership and making the country ungovernable.

    Little wonder, then, that the vituperations of voluble veteran agent provocateurs such as alias Charlie Price, a know-it-all journalist, are the norm rather than exception in our partisan media environ. When motormouth journalists stoop to using multiple aliases to comment on stories, it shows awareness of lack of credibility. That would’ve been a humbling realization for normal guys, but not the madcaps cruising Monrovia inciting crisis and confusion knowing very well they endanger economic recovery in a country undergoing hardships: Psychos.

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