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Governors to supervise SWAT, other security formations  

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Rising from its monthly meeting, the National Economic Council (NEC) has directed State Governors and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to supervise the operation of newly formed Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and other security formations within their domains.

The NEC further directed that the governors should immediately establish a State-based Special Security and Human Rights Committee for law enforcement to be chaired by them.

It added that the committee would ensure that police formation and other security agencies in the State consistently protect the fundamental Human Rights of citizens in their state.

At a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and attended by State Governors on Thursday, it was agreed that the head of the SWAT should be a member of the committee.

Aside from the governor and the SWAT leader, the council agreed that members of the Special Committee should also include Representatives of Youths, and Civil Society organisations in the state.

The council, through a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, resolved that State Governors and the FCT Minister should take charge of interface and contact with the protesters in their respective domains.

Also, the council directed the governors and FCT minister to establishment State-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry that would receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality and extra-judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.

According to the council, the Judicial Panels which would be set up in all the States would include representatives of Youths, Students, Civil Society Organizations, and would be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge.

“Regarding the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, each State Government was to set up the Panel, chaired by a retired High Court Judge, with other members selected by the State Governor.

“The members would include 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 Ministry and a representative from the National Human Rights Commission.

“The panel would receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality or related extra-judicial killings; evaluate the 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 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 Officer 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”.

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