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Published: December 22, 2014

Following its success since September last year in supporting the security operation at the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the international security specialist Pilgrims Group has won a contract to guard the British High Commission in Nigeria.

The contract, which starts in early 2015, applies to the entire British diplomatic presence in the West African country, protecting the premises and residences of the British High Commission in the capital Abuja, Lagos and other locations.

In addition to manned guarding, access control and security for offices and residences, Pilgrims will provide managers, supervisors and a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) offering a complete security solution to protect British employees, their families and local staff working with the mission. Basically applying UK standards and implementing them through the contract across Nigeria.

“Strategically, this is an important contract win for Pilgrims Group,” says David Freear, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. “This is a particularly large contract, with nearly 300 security staff deployed throughout the country, and it is our first UK embassy-level contract. It demonstrates that our hands-on approach, together with the quality and depth of our service, means we can effectively compete with the large, multinational businesses in this market.”

Pilgrims Group’s training ethos will come strongly to the fore in Nigeria, as it works with partner organisations including the Nigerian Mobile Police (MOPOL) and integrates them with the learning outcomes it teaches to FCO staff via its UK Government Safety Awareness in Fragile Environments (SAFE) course. It also intends to further cement these safety and security values by actively engaging High Commission employees and families in a “hearts and minds” approach which will discuss and address the ways of working together to achieve an effective and safe security solution.

“We need to be hands-on to develop in Nigeria, as we have elsewhere,” says Freear. “This contract demonstrates our ability to set up a major operation in a short space of time. We are also demonstrating our technical capability by writing procedures based on the best in UK industry, and applying award-winning products like eGuarding™ in Nigeria, significantly raising the standard of local guards. We have to be one team working with all elements of the High Commission, to provide the safest solution to working in these environments. Hence why our ‘hearts and minds’ approach is so important in terms of building trust and understanding.”