When it comes to nation building issues, we cannot all sleep, facing same direction. On the condition that we all sleep, facing same direction, we would never be able to build the Nigeria of our dreams. While I will always pitch my tent with the masses, it is equally important to constantly and objectively look at varied crucial national issues without being predisposed. Over the weekend, the campaign to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) came to the highest height in our polity, as an effect of a few law-breaking and trigger-happy officers—amongst many excellent and gallant officers—who are daily driving the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, especially in the beautiful State of Lagos.
I opine that SARS should not be scrapped, because there was a reason why it was formed in the first place. If we can stick with the purpose for birthing it, I strongly believe that SARS would just be fine. In Nigeria, we are fond of running away from national problems. When the situation of things in the country isn’t palatable, our people would jump on the next available flight to wherever they are deceptively told is doing better than us economically. It is same mindset that has held us captive as a people for decades. Our people are changing husbands and wives as diapers today, because of a few temporary challenges. We do not like solving problems, we enjoy running away from them.
There is no facet of our national life that is flawless. Are we going to scrap every aspect of our national life? All the three (3) tiers of government in our greatly valued nation are not flawless. They are sources of great concern even to a day old Nigerian. Are we going to scrap them too? There is no nation on earth that does not have off-putting challenges. They are solving their own problems. They are not running away from them. This is the reason we have been running to those countries—that have been solving their own problems. We need to solve ours, so we can have a country that works.
There are too many fine police officers in Nigeria. All our policemen are not awful and saying they are all appalling means that we are not being fair to them. Mr. Abba Kyari is a fine, well-behaved and intelligent young police officer. Mr. Remi Adeoye is a very fine, dutiful and intelligent officer, who is doing us very proud beyond the shoes of Nigeria. And there are thousands of other policemen that I do not know their names—who are daily doing us proud both within and outside our beautiful country.
For the umpteenth time, scraping SARS is not going to solve the hitch some of our precious citizens are campaigning against. Our problem is beyond police brutality. Our problem is much deeper than that. The quandary we are having has to do with not attaching any value to human life. The life of an average Nigerian does not cost much—in the sight of those in leadership. In 1st world countries, when a life is lost, the whole nation would feel its impact and virtually everyone in leadership would be publicly seen running around, carrying the whole nation along, but when even a hundred (100) lives are lost in Nigeria, we would just wake up as a people the following day and continue as if nothing has happened, and our leaders would not say a word until the led compel them to say something.
Why SARS? Two years ago, the former Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, did split the Special Anti-Robbery Squad into two units—with a view to checking human rights abuses. SARS is one of the 14 units under the Nigeria Criminal Investigation and Intelligent Department. The operations of SARS include arrest, investigation and prosecution of suspected armed robbers, murderers, kidnappers, hired assassins and others involved in violent crimes. What a brave and laudable inventiveness!
SARS was formed to check human rights abuses and it would be a misdemeanor for same body that was formed to check human rights abuses to now be abusing same people it is meant to protect. In the last five (5) days, the news I have been hearing about SARS isn’t heartening to say the least, but while folks are pushing for SARS to be scrapped, I am of the opinion that it should be reformed and not be scrapped. I do believe that SARS can excellently deliver its purpose.
It is same SARS that arrested Evans the most notorious kidnapper in the history of our country. Also, Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, led by Superintendent of Police, SP, Abba Kyari, in March 2013, rounded up eight (8) members of the gang, remaining a man called asiwaju, who went into hiding. A few days later, he too was apprehended at Ikorodu in Lagos State. It is because of these exploits and more that I do sincerely believe that it should be reformed and not be scrapped. We cannot afford to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Last but not least, let us conscientiously raise our sons and daughters to dress properly—as responsible and dependable citizens of our cherished country. It is not every citizen with laptops that has a problem with SARS. When a youngman dresses as a prisoner and armed robber, what do you think it is going to happen to him? Remember, the future of Nigeria isn’t wishy-washy youths, but patriotic, dependable and futurist youths.