The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo has decorated 37 Special Economic Zones Security (SEZSEC) personnel to boost the security architecture of Nigeria’s free trade zones.
Adebayo said on Thursday in Abuja that the special economic zones security was to specialise in the security of investments, while complementing the services provided by other security agencies at the country’s free trade zones.
The minister said that it was a sure way to attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) “as it is natural for investment to locate where it can be secured’’.
According to him, the Federal Government approved the establishment of this security outfit which is midwifed by the Directorate of State Services (DSS).
“It is a deliberate measure to further fortify the country’s 46 free trade zones against economic sabotage and for the protection of investments domiciled in those special business areas.
“The outfit is to specialise in the security of investments and complement the wonderful services already provided by the DSS, Police, Civil Defence, the Nigeria Custom Service and the Nigeria Immigration service,’’ the minister said.
While urging them to be professional in the discharge of their duties, Adebayo pledged that hard work would be rewarded while appropriate sanctions await those who would err.
“The government will not hesitate in rewarding hard work, just as it will not relent in punishing any of you who runs afoul of the law.
“Stay focused in the delivery of your services for the attraction of the much needed investments which will create jobs and improve our GDP,’’ he said.
Earlier, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the managing director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), said that the reason for establishing the unit could not be overemphasised.
“Our ultimate aim is simply to provide adequate security to lives, properties and investments in the free trade zones.
“The issue of security and its attendant challenges have been of serious concern in our beloved nation.
“This bold step we took will help to build the confidence of investors, owners of enterprises in the zones and prospective investors alike in our management of the free zone scheme,’’ he said.
He commended Federal Government’s efforts in establishing six special economic zones in Lagos, Ilorin, Katsina, Benue, Gombe and Sokoto within seven years.
According to Adesugba, the new security structure is already providing the zones with surveillance and intel.
“Others are physical security, and procedural checks on documentations to abate economic sabotages.
“We have come to decorate these officers with their ranks and also to unveil them to the investing public and to the Nigeria public as a mark of our resolve to open up the scheme for sustainable global business exchanges and competition,’’ Adesugba said.
The NEPZA boss said that the officers were trained between May 23 and June 23 at the State Security Service Academy, Lagos.
On his part, Sen. Francis Fadahunsi, the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, said that the establishment of the security unit was in conformity with international best practice.
He pledged National Assembly’s commitment to carry out legislations that would improve the concept.
Fadahunsi appealed to the officers to carry out their task professionally, saying that without security, no meaningful investment would thrive.