James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Following the resolution of the National Economic Council (NEC) at a meeting held last Thursday, the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has constituted a Judicial Panel of Investigation on alleged cases of police brutalities against citizens of the State, with Justice Solomon Olugbemi (retired) as the Chairman.
The Governor has also set up Special Security and Human Rights Committee to be headed by the Governor himself, in line with the directive of the meeting.
He equally set up the Human Rights Complaint office to be headed by the Ota Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, Joseph Ogunniyi, Esq.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Kunle Somorin disclosed these in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Saturday.
“The virtual meeting presided over by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, with State Governors participating directed each state governor in consultation with relevant Federal Agencies to take charge of interaction with #EndSARS protesters, and as much as possible address their legitimate concerns”.
“The National Economic Council (NEC) also directed each state to set up Victims Support Fund to “enable payment of monetary compensations to deserving victims” of such alleged brutalities”.
“The governors are also expected to set up Special Security and Human Rights Committees as well as Human Rights Complaint Offices in their respective State”.
Other members of the Judicial Panel of Investigation included Comrade Olayinka Folarin, Chairman, Ogun State Coalition of Civil Societies, Ms Omonajevwe Janet Abiri, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), DIG Babatunde Ogunyanwo (rtd), Comrade AbdulJabar Ayelagbe, Chairman, National Youth Council, Ogun State Chapter, Comrade Bamgbose Tomiwa, NANS Chairman, Ogun State, Ms Aisekegbe Momodu, National Human Rights Commission, Ogun State, while Mrs. Oluwatosin T. Ogundele, Chief State Counsel, Ministry of Justice, will serve as Secretary
“The Committee is to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality, human rights violations or related extra-judicial killings; evaluate the evidence presented and recommend compensation and other remedial measures, where appropriate”.
The governor himself will chair the Special Security and Human Rights Committee.
Other members of the committee are heads of the security agencies in the State; head of any special tactical unit of the police in the state charged with fighting armed robbery and other violent crimes; Babatunde Adeluola, representing the youth.
Representatives of civil society are:
Mrs. Peju Osoba of Child First Welfare International, and Comrade Obatungashe Israel Adebayo, Deputy National President, Campaign for Democracy (CD).
“This Committee is charged, amongst others, with the task of ensuring the protection of the rights of citizens by all security and law enforcement agencies; monitor the prosecution of any officer indicted by the Presidential Panel on Police Reforms and entertain complaints of human rights violations from the State’s Human Rights Complaints Office”.
Other members of the Human Rights Complaints Office included Mr. Bamidele Adebayo, Director, Department of Citizens Rights, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Shodeinde Oluwaponmile, Ogun State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission.
“The Committee will facilitate easy access of complainants to prompt attention and assistance and give regular reports to the Special Security and Human Rights Committee for action”.
Governor Abiodun equally set aside “a seed fund of N50million” as a start-up amount to enable payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims”.
“In addition to the above initiatives agreed at the National Economic Council meeting, the Governor announced the setting up of Ogun State Human Rights Complaints Reporting Portal that will be accessible to all citizens of Ogun State to upload documentary and audio/video evidence of cases of abuse”.
He also added that Ogun State will be establishing a Forensic Laboratory to aid and support police investigations and crime scene management.
“Furthermore, the State will invest in the continuous training of police officers on investigation best practices, community policing, and intelligence gathering.
The statement added that Governor Abiodun reiterated his government’s commitment to the protection of human lives and properties.
The governor appealed to protesters to bring an end to the protests and allow a return to normalcy to give room for the implementation of government interventions, especially as the federal government has acceded to their demands whilst the state government has taken full responsibility for the implementation by taking these deliberate and practical steps and actions.
The governor assured citizens that the committees need to be allowed a chance to activate measures to end human rights violations and compensate victims of previous abuses.
According to the release, the committees will be inaugurated next week.