The National Economic Council (NEC) has directed the immediate establishment of State-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality or related extra-judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units.
According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President (Media & Publicity), Laolu Akande, the decision was reached at the council’s monthly meeting on Thursday.
The meeting was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and attended by State Governors.
The council specifically resolved that State Governors and the FCT Minister should take charge of interface and contact with the protesters in their respective domains.
Besides, NEC resolved that the Judicial Panels which would be set up in all the States would include representatives of Youths, Students, Civil Society Organizations and would be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge.
The Council 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.
“The idea of the Special Security and Human Rights Committee in all States of the Federation and the FCT is to ensure that police formations and other security agencies in the State consistently protect the Human Rights of citizens,” the statement said.
“Members of the Special Committee would also include Representatives of Youths, and Civil Society. The head of Police tactical units in each of the State would also be a member of the Committee.
“Regarding the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, each State Government is to set up the Panel, 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; and 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 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 council resolved that 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.
“There would 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,” the statement stated.
“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.
“It shall be the duty of the officers of the Complaints Office to liaise with the leadership of security agencies, attempt resolution of complaints or otherwise guide the complainants.”
NEC also directed all State Governors to immediately establish a Victims Fund to enable the payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims.
Nigerians have been protesting on the streets for several days, demanding an end to Police brutality and extra-judicial killings.