…Calls for special fund for victims
The National Economic Council (NEC) Thursday directed the immediate establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or extra judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.
Rising from its monthly meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, the council also directed governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to take charge of the interface and contact with protesters in their respective domains.
The council said the Judicial Panels of Enquiry should be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge with 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 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 said the panel’s assignment should be concluded within a maximum of six months unless it shows convincing reasons why the governor of the state should allow an extension.
The council also directed governors to immediately establish a state-based Special Security and Human Rights Committee to be chaired by them to supervise the newly formed police tactical units and all other security agencies located in the state.
The council said establishment of the Special Security and Human Rights Committee in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT would ensure that police formations and other security agencies in the state consistently protect the human rights of citizens.
The council said members of the Special Committee would also include representatives of youth and civil society organisations, stressing that the head of police tactical units in each of the state would also be a member of the committee.
The National Economic Council also called for the constitution of a Human Rights Public Complaints Team of between two to three persons to receive complaints on an ongoing basis to be established by the Special Committee on Security and Human Rights.
The council also directed that that each state government should set up such a Complaints Office to which members of the public can relate by telephone or social media channels.
The council said officers of the Complaints Office would liaise with the leadership of security agencies, attempt resolution of complaints or otherwise guide the complainants.
The council also directed all governors to immediately establish a Victims Fund to enable the payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims.
NEC also received report on Nigeria’s COVID-19 response from the Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, which indicates a decline in 18 states and improved testing in 19 others in September compared to August.
The NCDC boss also listed priority intervention areas as strengthening States’ Health Security Architecture such as strong state epidemiology team, functional EOC, functional molecular lab, defined treatment centre, response vehicles, communication equipment and resources to deploy, and the establishment and sustenance of sample collection sites.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning reported to council the balances as of October 14, 2020, thus: 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
The council 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.
The objective of the presentation is to bring NEC up to speed on Ministry’s Term Goals and Projects and seek NEC’S support in the resolution of key challenges to achieving our goals.
The council was invited to stablish 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; and MSME Council should be set up in each state to build a database of the residents MSMES which to be used to facilitate the integration of local MSMEs into the supply chains of large resident corporate.