National Economic Council In receipt of reports from judicial panels regarding EndSARS protests set up in 28 States across the country and in the FCT, have resolved that payment of compensation to victims should proceed with each State, in collaboration with the Federal Government, establishing the modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the panels. Equally, NEC, which is composed of all State Governors in the Federation, representatives of the FG, and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, also unanimously resolved today to ensure the prosecution of persons indicted by the panels. The Council specifically directed States “to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons.
A statement from the Office of the Vice President “Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020.”
Also rising from today’s NEC meeting, members strongly advised those planning protests to mark the anniversary of the ENDSARS to reconsider the option in view of “current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues.” The Statement said “At its meeting today, 15th October 2021, the National Economic Council (NEC/Council) received an update on the Reports of Judicial Panels of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations against Members of Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies. It may be recalled that following the October 2020 #EndSARS protests, which later transformed into violent demonstrations, in furtherance of resolution of NEC, twenty-eight (28) States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) (under the auspices of the National Human Rights Commission) had set up Judicial Panels/Commissions of Inquiry (Panels) to investigate allegations of violations of human rights levied against members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, especially members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The 28 States that set up these Panels were Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Taraba. Out of the 28 States, 11 States (Abia, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, and Rivers) have submitted their final reports to Council; with Lagos, set to finalise its sittings on 19th October 2021, submitting an interim report. Governors of other States including Deltaand Ebonyi at today’s meeting also indicated that their reports would be submitted soon.
Following deliberations on the recommendations of the panels, NEC agreed/resolved as follows, (and this applies to all the States and FCT that set up the panels):
“Each State, in collaboration with the Federal Government, shall establish modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the Panels. Already, as resolved by NEC, a number of States have set up Victims Compensation Funds, from which several victims have already received payments of sums awarded to them by the panels. Council directed State Governors to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons. Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020. NEC called on the leadership of the security agencies to ensure that –Persons recruited into arms-bearing security agencies undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment and periodically after enlistment to ensure that the personnel are psychologically fit to carry live weapons and to identify behavioural tendencies that may require psycho-social interventions. Personnel of the agencies dutifully observes Rules of Engagement in the discharge of their functions/duties around and within the civilian populace. While acknowledging the various initiatives introduced by the Federal Government to: strengthen police accountability through the Police Service Commission, sustain improved funding and budgetary allocation to the Nigeria Police”