NEC orders state governors to supervise SWAT teams, probe police brutality

The National Economic Council (NEC) has directed state governors to supervise the newly-formed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) police unit and all other security agencies located in the State.

The governors were also directed to immediately establish a State-based Special Security and Human Rights Committee to be chaired by the governors in their States.

The council directed the immediate establishment of State-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry to receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality.

The panels will also investigate extra judicial killings by the police.

The objective is for the panels to deliver justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units.

The Council specifically resolved that State Governors and the FCT Minister should interface with the protesters in their respective domains.

The decisions were taken today at a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The State Governors were also in attendance.

According to a statement by Laolu Akande, the SSA Media to the VP, the Judicial Panels to be set up in all the States would include representatives of Youths, Students, Civil Society Organizations.

Each would be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge.

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.

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.

The meeting spelled out the composition of each Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

Each will compose a retired High Court Judge as chairman..

The State Governor will select 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 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 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.

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.

Also NEC directed all State Governors to immediately establish a Victims Fund to enable the payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims.

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