All the thirty six states of Nigeria as well as the Federal Capital Territory administration have moved to bring justice to victims of police brutality.
The states have resolved to set up judicial panels of inquiry to investigate complaints of police killings and brutality in their domains.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Economic Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday.
The council, chaired by the Vice- President, has all state governors, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and some other relevant ministers as members.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed the outcome of the meeting in a statement titled “NEC to govs: Take charge of police tactical units.”
The decision came at a time many parts of the country are witnessing protests against the activities of the now scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
The statement read in part, “Rising from its monthly meeting the National Economic Council 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.
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.”
Akande added that the judicial panels which would be set up in all the states would be chaired by retired state high court judges.
According to the statement, the term of reference for the panels include: 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, Akande said, should be concluded within a maximum of six months unless it shows convincing reasons why the state governor should allow an extension.
The statement added, “There would also be Human Rights Public Complaints Team of between two and three 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 directs all state governors to immediately establish a Victims Fund to enable the payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims. “
Akande said 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.