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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

NEC directs states to create judicial panels to look into SARS abuses

The National Economic Council (NEC) 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.

The Panel, according to a statement from the office of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to ensure justice for victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (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.

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At a meeting presided over by Vice President Osinbajo and attended by State Governors, 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.

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 idea of the Special Security and Human Rights Committee in all States of the Federation and the FCT is to ensure those police formations and other security agencies in the State consistently protect the Human Rights of citizens.

Members of the Special Committee would also include Representatives of Youths and Civil Society. The head of Police tactical units in each of the States would also be a member of the Committee.

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

The judicial panel is expected to consist of two representatives of Civil Society groups, one Retired Police Officer of high repute, one youth representative, one student representative, one representative of the State Attorney-General and a representative from the National Human Rights Commission.

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