Chief Ubong King is the CEO of Protection Plus Services, a private security outfit with core interest in VIP protection, Maritime security and Man-Guard services. In an exclusive interview with the Publisher of Classy Executive, Francis Adejoro, the security superstar gave insights on a wide range of security issues.
What is your opinion on the scrapping of SARS?
Irrespective of whatever name you call any unit, they are made up of men, the problem is not the name, the problem is the men, if they are held accountable for their actions, then there will be no need to scrap SARS. SARS is a unit that is dreaded, because if SARS is on a case there is the likely hold that arm robbers will reconsider there position. However, it has become a big elephant that needs a lot of taming and the operation of SARS is not a regular police work and over time if those men are not taken out of that place for rehabilitation the problem may persist. Sometimes a man that is use to killing arm robbers does not understand the value of life anymore. If you take such person to a place where somebody insults him, the next thing is to take that man out of his way, reorientation is the way forward. The reorientation of the men of SARS is key, make them accountable to deliver what is expected of them.
What do you think the government can do to reduce the rate kidnapping?
Kidnapping has two routes, people kidnap because of who you are, that is your influence, what you mean in the society, they can use you to pass a message or create a point; that is who you are. The second part is what you are; what you are, means wealth. So it is because of either who you are or what you are. What you are means that if they get you, they can get money. There is high net worth kidnapping and regular kidnapping. Kidnapping became an easy form of money because arm robbery became very difficult. The route cause of all these is hunger. If the government deals with this situation a lot of people will divest from kidnapping. Every body is permitted to be hungry, it gives you drive, what value do you imbibe? Those values are what will create your actions or in actions. If your values are positive you will end up productive, If they are negative you will end up as a criminal. I say this because it is not easy to kidnap, It is a process and strategy. Why can’t they use the same skills to achieve something positive? This also goes back to the people that mentor them, If the mentor has wrong values, they will as well have wrong values. We need to change the productivity of people. I know the rate of unemployed youth is alarming, but they must learn to be creative. If there is no creativity there will be no employment. My advice is that government should include entrepreneur courses in primary and secondary schools curriculum because basically what they learn is how to attend job interviews. Today youths are not creative; instead, they are looking for job.
Has the cashless policy introduce by CBN reduce crime rate?
Cashless doesn’t mean that there is no money. Are you aware there is a new method of kidnapping called express kidnap, as a result of this cashless policy? This method is popularly known as ‘one chance’ that is the local name. They take their victims to the nearest ATM where they can collect all the cash in the victim’s account. There is also the virtual kidnap, they switched off your phones and call any your close relative to pay ransom.
Do you think it will be wise for the government to setup more security agencies?
The government needs to strategically look at the challenges we are facing as a people and as a nation, the crime threat going on and how they intend to deal with it. Before there could be problem in sokoto without anybody knowing but because of the internet age the information spreads faster.
How do you think security agencies can achieve synergy?
One of the major problems they have had over time is working together in respect to what their job description entails. For instance, the agency for intelligence should be empowered to give credible intelligence to the police. The police also needs to do a proper policing work. Intelligent agency now do the work of policing, same with civil defense that is why there is a conflict of interest. Once there is a synergy, it will be easy to fight crime. The navy cannot succeed without SSS intelligent report. Also the community needs to be integrated because no crime happens outside the community. These are the factors that need to be dealt with.
Do you think the government is doing enough to fund security agencies?
They can never do enough, I said so because the government doesn’t have enough money, the people may have. If the standard is for forty Nigerians to one police officer, we have 180m Nigerians, divide it by forty, the result will tell you the number of police men we should have as a country.
Air peace Airlines gives discounts to military personnel, do you think other airline should emulate this gesture?
I believe not only airlines should do this, other corporates institutions should value this, by giving discounts to this personnel. It is not an easy thing to defend the territorial integrity of a country. They do it in other countries. This singular honor alone will make them have faith in the system. If Air Peace is doing this which is laudable every other airline should emulate this gesture.
Will you consider politics in future?
Let me use this statement by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, AlMaktoum, he said, and I quote. “Without political power, there is no economy power” Today I have not considered politics but if the opportunity comes up in future, there is nothing wrong considering it. Though it has never been a thing of interest to me.
What is the greatest thing God has done for you?
The greatest thing God has done for me was the discovering of my purpose in life. You can only have value when you discover your purpose in life. Helping me to understanding my purpose has enabled me to contribute my quota to the society.
What more do you want from God?
He has already told me what he wants me to do. He has given me the task, it is my responsibility to find out. It is the glory of kings to search it out. I have a hunger to stop seeing young men hungry.
How do you intend to achieve this?
I have a foundation known as Ubong king foundation. I teach people how to identify opportunity. I teach them how to catch fish. Feeding them with fish will not solve their problems. It is a wrong principle to keep feeding somebody without showing him/her how to source for the food. There is dignity in labour.
At what age did you discover your purpose in life?
I discovered my purpose at the age of 23years. I found this purpose out of pain. I lost my dad at the age of 13, my mum is not educated, I did not do well in English, This off cause delayed my admission into the university. University of calabar give me the opportunity to study Agric education because of my deficiency in English. My family felt very disappointed in me and disowned me, this was how I discovered that hunger is the gift of God to me, when you are hungry you will find food. It was hunger that gave me the courage to find food and also pay my school fees. I needed to do things that are productive. I find my way to Lagos to serve somebody in a fashion outfit at onike Iwaya Lagos. Often, going back to school after the part time job in Lagos, I will discovered that I have missed so many tests and class projects as a result I graduated with a 3rd class, to add salt to injury NYSC forgot to post me, so I was not a candidate for employment, until you are hungry you will not look for food. I ask myself what can I do! My passion is that, I don’t like to see people loosing things. That is how I find myself into the business of securing lives and properties. Security became the thing that was of interest to me. I read magazines a lot, I will spend a whole day at ojuelegba under bridge reading magazines, whatever you eat and you continually eat will eventually eat you up, it was from the reading of magazines and newspapers I discovered the process of securing a car. This was how I started security business before you know it, the interest in Executive protection came in, how to protect VIP’S (Very Important Personalities), The next challenge I faced was to choose my target market. There are two set of people. The rich and the poor. I have to locate where the rich live in Lagos, I have no business selling to the poor because they will not pay me. I got to know about threat assessment emergency response and executive protection through magazines. Today I am a superstar in the area of security. The first stage of progression is study, I also learn from other security firms such as paic security and Alarm centre where I learnt more on the job. At Alarm center I learnt how to put a panic button in peoples home for a ten minutes arm response team in the case of eventuality. It was a hot cake, Israeli companies were the only ones into this type of security. We were the first Nigeria company to do it and we took over the market because we understood the business. Study your competition, without competitive intelligence you cannot succeed in business. I went into maritime security because of competition in other areas, by the grace of God am ahead of competition, I have gone far, I have offices in London and Singapore. Protection plus leads in maritime security in Nigeria.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as the man who was able to show other people the way. I started as a security guard with the hope of succeeding in life and I did. I t is the same hope I am giving young people today, encouraging them to do more in other to succeed in life. This is how I want to be remembered.
Who is your mentor?
My first mentor is Mark Madoc, he is the epitome of wisdom. He is a wisdom teacher, In my bag here, I have ten of his books. The next mentor is Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, AlMaktoum, The president of Dubai. Everything about them is the people. The leaders in UAE don’t do anything because of themselves they are not thinking of the next election, they are thinking of the next generation. Corruption thrives in a society that lacks creativity.
Where is your best holiday spot?
My best holiday spot is in Dubai, for obvious reasons. Dubai challenges my mind.
Thank you for your time sir.
Its my pleasure.