#EndSARS: NEC directs governors to set up judicial panels of inquiry

The National Economic Council (NEC) has directed the immediate establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extrajudicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS) and other police units.

The Judicial Panels, which will be set up in all the states will be made up of representatives of Youths, Students, Civil Society Organisations and would be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge.

This was part of the resolutions reached at a virtual meeting of the council presided over by its Chairman, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja on Thursday.

The Panel in each of the state is to be chaired by a retired High Court Judge, with other members selected by the State Governor as follows:

Two representatives of Civil Society groups, one Retired Police Officer of high repute, one Youth Representative, one Student Representative, one Representative of the State Attorney-General Ministry and a representative from the National Human Rights Commission.

The terms of reference for the Judicial Panel is to; receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality or related extra-judicial killings; evaluate the evidence presented/other surrounding circumstances, and draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints; and recommend compensation and other remedial measures, where appropriate.

The Panel’s assignment should be concluded within a maximum of six (6) months unless it shows convincing reasons why the State Governor should allow an extension.

The council also resolved that state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) should take charge of interface and contact with the protesters in their respective domains.

It also directed that state governors should immediately establish a state-based Special Security and Human Rights Committee to be chaired by the Governors in their states, to supervise the newly formed police tactical units and all other security agencies located in the State.

According to a statement issued by Vice President’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, the idea of the Special Security and Human Rights Committee in all states and the FCT is to ensure that police formation and other security agencies in the State consistently protect the Human Rights of citizens.

Members of the Special Committee would also include Representatives of Youths, and Civil Society as well as the head of Police tactical units in each of the state.

There will also be Human Rights Public Complaints Team of between 2 to 3 persons to receive complaints on an ongoing basis. That team would be established by the Special Committee on Security and Human Rights.

It was resolved that each state government shall also set up such a Complaints Office to which members of the public can relate by telephone or social media channels.

The statement added that it shall be the duty of the officers of the Complaints Officer to liaise with the leadership of security agencies, attempt resolution of complaints or otherwise guide the complainants.

NEC similarly directed all state governors to immediately establish a Victims Fund to enable the payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims.

NEC received update on various accounts including, Excess Crude Account -$72,409,346.76;Stabilization Account -N47,193,630,556.96 and Development of Natural Resources Account -N154,330,148,020.34.

It also received a presentation from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment titled Strategy for Growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) and Job Creation.

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The presentation noted that part of the mandate of FMITI is to accelerate the growth of the industrial sector and enhance productivity and boost the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as the engine of economic growth, etc.

Council was invited to: Establish land banks in each state earmarked for investment in agriculture and agro-processing;

Ensure fair compensation for land, standardize and ensure clarity in compensation rates in each state;

Adapt the 2015 approved list of taxes and levies; Set up and investment promotion agency/one-stop shop for investment-related issues including facilitating investment linkages MSME Council should be set up in each states.

These Councils should build a database of the residents MSMES which can be used to facilitate the integration of local MSMEs into the supply chains of large resident corporate.

NEC also heard that disruptions in the macroeconomic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitated President Muhammadu Buhari’s presentation of a revised 2020 budget on May 28, 2020, which was signed into law on July 10, 2020.




#EndSARS: NEC directs governors to set up judicial panels of inquiry

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