#EndSARS: Nigeria sets up special fund to compensate victims of police brutality
London, Oct. 16, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria has announced a comprehensive proposal to meet the demand of protesting youths demanding reform of the police and end to police brutality in Africa’s most populous nation
One of the major highlights of the virtual meeting chaired by Nigeria’s Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo was the formation of a special victim fund to compensate victims of police brutality across the country
Another major reform of the high powered meeting which included all state governors is that henceforth, state governments are to take charge of ensuring the Nigerian Police Force and all it’s tactical units comply with laid down rules and respect human rights henceforth.
The NEC “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,” the NEC said in its resolution sent to media houses by Mr Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande.
“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 committee 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.
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 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.
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.