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Elvis Aseroma - "The Nigerian narrative is unique and complex"

Elvis Aseroma

CSP Elvis Aseroma, CPP, PCI, PSP, FNIIS

Head of Physical Security, Health & Safety

AXA Mansard Insurance PLC, paragraphs & more.

AN: As the Head of Physical Security, Health & Safety for a high-profile company in AXA Mansard are there any common physical security challenges specific to the insurance sector in Nigeria?


EA: Some of the physical security challenges in the insurance industry include but not limited to: Fraud, social engineering, insider – outsider connivance, misappropriation of funds, suppression of funds by personnel, compromised processes, data and privacy breaches, espionage etc. These have far reaching consequences on the continued existence of the operations in the industry.


AN: AXA Mansard have 35 locations throughout Nigeria with the majority based in Lagos – How do you adapt your approach to the differing regions and states?


EA: First you must understand the operating environment where these locations are situated to enable you assess the local threat environment with a view to understanding the threats, vulnerabilities, and associated risks. You also need to assess the probability of these risks crystalizing, as well as the impact on the company should it occur. Through appropriate analysis you can determine the physical security measures / countermeasures to deploy to ensure a safe working environment. It is therefore pertinent to conduct regular risk assessments to ensure safety and security of the facility, personnel, and assets of the company to enable seamless business operations.


AN: With teams and staff both office based as well as remotely in the field, how is best to drive employee awareness on potential hazards and risk?


EA: A robust infrastructure (physical or virtual) that supports teams anywhere they are operating from is critical in ensuring appropriate awareness advisories are transmitted through internal communications or through encrypted comms via SMS/Notification instantaneously on current, ongoing, and anticipated events that may expose them to risks. Promoting a culture of safety and security mindset. We have a duty of care and duty of vigilance in providing an enabling environment for the safety and security of our personnel whether working remotely or on site. We also collaborate with our partners / consultants to provide services on mental health and wellness awareness, other areas on best practices on safety, building a healthy lifestyle, ergonomics, impacts of undue exposure to company devices against surreptitious or malicious attacks as well as the importance of maintaining situational awareness always.


AN: The physical security landscape in Nigeria is unique in its challenges and it would be fair to say unlike any other counties environment – Are there any international principles that should be more widely adopted?


EA: In recent times, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented level of insecurity and the challenges are legion ranging from terrorism, banditry, armed robbery, kidnap -for-ransom, unknown gunmen, cultism and now, we have the removal of fuel subsidy and hike in the price of fuel. These have a devastating impact on the citizenry.


The Nigerian narrative is unique and complex. To address this situation, we need to first, look inward. A local situation requires a local solution; however, it is also important to ensure international best practices are considered. To address the security challenges is in effect, to address the root causes. This requires reduction of threats, actual and potential, that can generate insecurity for the country such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality. 


The government must invest in security and upgrade current security infrastructure to the extent possible to mitigate clear and imminent danger. Provide power for businesses to thrive, good roads, efficient transport systems, food security, boost agriculture, industry and commerce, empowerment, and skill acquisition,  and the resuscitation of the comatose refineries to reduce the untold hardship and impact on the people of this country. In terms of deploying international principles for sustainable development that should be more widely adopted, my thoughts would revolve around good governance, genuine democratization process and accountable political leadership.


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