The cries by hundreds of youths across the Lagos Mainland and other parts of the country on the harassment, extortion and brutalities of the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has led to the viral demand for a reform or total end to the Police unit.
In recent months, news of the illegalities and horrific actions of the SARS officers have dominated the news but little have been said by the government in putting the officers in check.
However, while speaking at the Afang Summit, an informal gathering of creative minds devoid of political affiliations, which held at Yaba, Lagos Mainland, the presidential aspirant of KOWA Party, Dr. Adesina Fagbenro Byron, declared that the SARS unit needs a total overhaul and he won’t hesitate do so if elected Nigeria’s next president in the forthcoming 2019 General Elections.
According to him; “The SARS unit is a special Police unit meant for a specific purpose and it seem to have outlived its stay. The unit was created at a time when armed robbery was rife with lives and properties of citizens at stake. They were created as a special force to handle those extreme cases and the Police were expected to move into the areas when the SARS officers had left.
“But these days, we can’t say same with the actions of the officers. The unit needs a total overhaul and should even operate like the SWAT team has we have in the US. You don’t have to see them daily except when they have a special assignment. But in Nigeria, when you see a SARS officer, you would be gripped with fear. I am of the opinion that the best security and policing is community policing where in a community, the security unit can protect their neigbourhood in sectors.”
In addition, Dr. Byron spoke about other pertinent issues about the country, his opinion on Nigerian politics, how he is plotting to win the elections and restructuring as the way forward for Nigeria. See some of the high points below.
Restructuring & Refraction is the way forward
According to Dr. Byron, Nigeria “has reach a threshold and it is imperative to restructure every facet of the system to birth the new Nigeria. We need to understand that the forthcoming election will determine the Nigeria we desire if we get it right or not.”
He noted that the country is at a stage such that when the structures and institutions in place have refused to deliver the country, there is an urgent need to retrace the steps to ensure the need structures are remodeled or modified to give desired results.
Why KOWA Party joined CUPP
Commenting on why his party, KOWA Party joined a host of other political parties to birth the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Dr. Byron stated that; “We entered that coalition deliberately and consciously. The strategy was to leverage a coalition to ride on the stronghold of these political forces to deliver the country. Political parties under the CUPP has agreed to each produce a flag bearer that would then be put side by side with every candidate presented by the parties to share ideas and determine on the best candidate to emerge under the CUPP.
“The idea is to ensure the best candidate emerge from the group which would then represent the interest of the generality of the masses and the coalition.”
Nigeria is overbanked and underfinanced
Reacting to inquiries on how he tends to deliver the economy if elected into office, he stated that the country is overbanked with less funds available to small businesses. According to him; “The country is overbanked and underfinanced. In reality, when you do an analysis of who should get finance and when they should get it, you would be surprised that there is a collaboration between the elites in the private sector. From the look of things, monies only circulate between a select few and it doesn’t touch those who really do need them for their businesses. If someone brings $10,000 into a community, the more times the money circulates in that community, the more prosperous the community gets. We have seen cases, where only the elites in a group are given adequate access to funds and these set of people, would rather take the money and invest elsewhere rather than put the money back into their immediate community.
“We should focus more on community and microfinance banks with incentives used as a strengthening tool to drive economic growth. The growth we desire has to be predicated on access to finance particularly for productive women.”
5-Pronged Approach to Attack the Nigerian Issue
Commenting on the plans to deliver the Nigeria of his dreams with structural, technological and evident advancements across each sector, Dr. Byron said; “In looking at Nigeria and trying to engage with the realities, analysis has showed that there are five entry points to attack the issues in terms of the technicalities alone because we still have to talk about the politics and the realities of getting elected and making a difference against the barrage of resistance to anyone who plans to do anything good.
“The five priorities as far as we are concerned as a party are Security and Safety; Education and Health; Environment; Technology and Innovations and Infrastructure and Economy.”
Lack of experience cost KOWA Party in 2015 elections
According to him, “when the party was formed in 2010, 70% of its founders were private professionals with no experience in politics. Another 20% were from civil societies and society groups with very little experience too. There were just 10% of us that had done politics before and unfortunately during that period, I was working as a diplomat and most of my works had to be under the radar.
“We had a candidate in Professor Remi Sonaiya which we all supported and she ran a good race but we all saw clearly that our lack of in depth understanding of the political landscape cost us.”
He is ready to sacrifice his life to implement his ideas
While responding to questions on how far he would go to ensure his bright ideas are implemented when elected into office, Dr. Byron whose watchword is ‘settle for best’ noted that “anybody who sets out to be the President of Nigeria knows that there is some risk attached to it. I understand this and what can we do. When a man has to go, he has to and it will happen to everybody.
“The first time I shared my ambition of running for Presidency with a friend, he asked if I was ready to die. It is a very factual question and it is true. The time we would understand if we are ready to die is when we start hearing guns fired by insurgents close to our homes. It is either we are protecting our lives or we stand in the gap and make sure we fix the system and fix our lives in the process.