End SARS: Gov Abiodun sets up panel of enquiry, earmarks N50m support fund for victims of police brutality

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Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has appointed Justice Solomon Olugbemi (retired) as Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Investigation on alleged cases of Police brutalities against citizens of the State.

The appointment, according to statement from the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Kunle Somorin was in line with the resolution of the National Economic Council at its meeting on Thursday.

Gov Abiodun also announced provision of N50m as Victim Support Fund to compensate deserving victims of police brutality

The virtual meeting presided over by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, 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.

The statement said it was in the light of these directives that the Gov Abiodun set up this Judicial Panel of Investigation to be headed by Hon Justice Solomon Olugbemi (rtd) Other members are 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 evidence presented and recommend compensation and other remedial measures, where appropriate.

The governor equally set up Special Security and Human Rights Committee to be headed by him while heads of the security agencies in the State as well as head of any special tactical unit of the Police in the State charged with fighting armed robbery and other violent crimes;

Other members of the  committee are Babatunde Adeluola, representing the youth while Mrs. Peju Osoba of Child First Welfare International, and Comr. Obatungashe Israel Adebayo, Deputy National President, Campaign for Democracy (CD) are to represent the interest of the civil organisations.

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.

The governor also announced the creation of Human Rights Complaints Office to be headed by Joseph Ogunniyi, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ota Branch – Ombudsman. Other members are Mr. Bamidele Adebayo, Director, Department of Citizens Rights, Ministry of Justice and 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.

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.

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