About a year after the EndSARS protests, the National Economic Council have resolved that payment of compensation to victims of the protests 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.
Rising from its meeting yesterday, the NEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, also unanimously resolved 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.
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.
The NEC met following receipt of reports from Judicial Panels of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations against members of Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies, regarding EndSARS protests set up in 28 States across the country and in the FCT.
Members of the NEC also 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 28 States where panels were set up were Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo and Ekiti. Others inlcude 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 October 19, 2021, submitting an interim report. Governors of other States including Delta and Ebonyi also indicated that their reports would be submitted soon.
To improv efficiency of the Police and other security agencies’ architecture, 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.
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 Force and other securities agencies, and the lifting of the ban on recruitment of police officers, Council urged the Federal Government to give priority to the welfare of police officers and personnel of other security agencies.
In particular, it advocated the review of pension and gratuity of retired police officers and attainment of parity of remuneration by police officers with sister security agencies.
The NEC also urged the Nigeria Police Force to, in line with the mandatory training provisions of the Police Act 2020, prioritise training of Police Officers on procedures for the entrenchment of Human Rights Provisions guaranteed by the Constitution and on the professional handling of weapons.
It also called on police authorities to ensure that all those detained by the Police as a result of the EndSars protests are expeditiously processed with due regard to the principles of fair hearing.