Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A technology consultant and former Special Adviser to former U.S President George W. Bush on Science and Technology, Chief Emeka Ken Nwabueze, has called for sincere reforms and conversion of the special police anti-crime unit into an intelligence-driven, well-trained anti-robbery squad manned by well-educated personnel.
Nwabueze, owner of several patents in technological innovations, said the ongoing #EndSARS protests, more than any other thing in recent time, has become a pointer to the sociopolitical maturity of Nigerian youths, once described as inactive by their leaders.
He said the youths seem to know better than those interpreting their actions that the protests are not only against police brutality but also against the system that has turned the nation’s police officers into seeming implacable foes of the people.
In a statement titled ‘SARS: Reform not Disbandment’, which he personally signed and released in Abuja today, Nwabueze declared: “#EndSARS protests show that the so-called inactive Nigerian youths have woken up from their slumber. Interestingly, while many may misconstrue their annoyance as blanket hate for police force, they youths themselves know that their protests are both against police brutality and the rotten system that has made monsters out of our police officers most of who, especially SARS personnel, are also young Nigerians.”
Noting that many saw the #EndSARS protests coming, given the many infractions of the rights of youths and those of other categories of Nigerians committed by SARS over time, Nwabueze said, however, that the solution to the problem does not lie in proscription of SARS but in its complete overhaul.
“We need SARS, so solving the problem arising from their incessant misapplications of their rules of engagement does not lie in outright ban but, in my candid opinion, in the reform of the squad into an intelligence-driven, educated and well-trained squad dedicated to eradicating armed robbery and other heinous crimes in society,” the highly regarded technological innovator contended. “The original idea of SARS was noble and for a while they were achieving their goals until the Nigerian Judicial system derailed them.”
According to Nwabueze, while many of the SARS officers were guilty of brutality, occasioned by their own lack of personal discipline and self-restraint, “the main problem with SARS are Nigerian judges and lawyers.”
“That is why I think the protesters should have turned their attention to this select, small group of Nigerians that have continued to hold this country to ransom,” Nwabueze further said in his statement. “At the outset, SARS was arresting the real criminals and charging them to court but most of the criminals charged to court by SARS were let off the hook by our corrupt judges.
“Apparently, the corrupt practices of our Judges led to the despair of the young SARS operatives, resulting in extrajudicial killings by officers of the squad as a way, wrongly though, of getting justice for the victims of the oft-vicious armed robbery attacks. The extrajudicial killings became the norm to SARS officers most of whom are young Nigerians under 35 years.”
Nwabueze lamented that once SARS, in an apparent bid to circumvent what they believed to be complicit legal interventions by lawyers and judges in behalf of criminals, resorted to extra-judicial killings, they became victims of what he described post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and could no longer stop.
“Killings became practically nothing to the young SARS officers who extended their dastardly operations to killing innocent citizens. The PTSD effect became so intense among SARS officers that they could no longer differentiate between right and wrong and began to develop god-like complex. The SARS unit became a renegade killing machine that drowned itself in hard drugs in order to deal with the excruciating pain of their past,” Nwabueze argued, adding that, as has been wrongly posited, “SARS were not killing young Nigerians because of their low salaries or poor treatment but for some convoluted sense of self-preservation.”
“There are other many Nigerians with guns and low salaries but we don’t see them killing innocent youths. SARS were killing because the society, which they were meant to protect had somehow betrayed them by setting free those same criminals they risked their lives to capture. Imagine letting a serial killer back into the society less than 2 months after you risked your life arresting him and charging him to court. Imagine the risk the society (Judges) is exposing you and your family to. This is the other side of SARS operatives we have not considered,” Nwabueze further argued.
Praising the #EndSARS protesters for their oranisation and purposefulness, the former Bush Adviser noted that the protests, which have practically morphed into a movement “can save Nigeria, end most of our internal crises from Boko Haram to agitation for Biafra,” pointing out that what the organisers of the protests have demonstrated is that with good leadership and sincerity of purpose, Nigerians can be mobilized to act in national interest.
Accordingly, he called on the #EndSARS group, as a way forward and in order to bring about a desirable, lasting change, to target the judiciary and the 2023 election, arguing that the initial gains of getting government attention and the attention of the so-called corrupt elite, “have already changed Nigeria as we knew it.”
He advocated the setting up of what he called “a watchdog team of youngsters” to monitor the activities of judges, including performing lifestyle audits on them and exposing every single source of illegal wealth, gifts, and gratuities they receive.”
“Reforming our Judges may bring about a sense of justice and may give the young police officers the impetus to charge criminals to court rather than engage in extrajudicial killings to get justice for victims of criminal activities,” he submitted.
“The 2023 election is the holy grail for which #EndSARS group must regroup and strategize to take back their country by retiring every politician born before 1960 (pre-war generation). A mass retirement by defeating every single one of them in elected executive and legislative position is imperative for the emergence of the new Nigeria the youths have demonstrated is possible. The group must follow up their plan by retiring every single Permanent Secretary born before 1965.
“It may be difficult to sustain a meaningful physical protest beyond a month. The #EndSARS generation has vast knowledge of social media so I suggest after a few more weeks that they call off their physical protest and take it online. They must use online tools to remain together and remain relevant till 2023. The cybersecurity gurus amongst them may need to engage themselves in ethical information surveillance on the financial dealings of our politicians and high level civil servants. Lifestyle audit is considered a fair game when the entire society is embroiled in corruption.”
“It is a difficult task but this is the right group to change Nigeria. I support them wholeheartedly and wish them well. They should reach out to those Nigerians born between 1965 and 1975 who may not be youths but are part of the marginalized age group. This group can provide financial, strategic, and tactical support,” Engr. Nwabueze surmised.