FG, States Meet over Insecurity, Resolve to Arrest, Prosecute Perpetrators of Crime

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*Pledge adequate security for all Nigerians

*States now to pay compensation to victims of targeted attacks

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday rose from a crucial meeting with a resolution by both federal and the 36 state governments to arrest and immediately prosecute whoever is found formenting or promoting trouble in any part of the country.
The Council consisting of all the 36 state governors with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presiding stated that it took that decision to arrest the rising wave of insecurity in the country.

The NEC in its resolution read to newsmen on Thursday evening after its closed-door meeting by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state and his Kebbi state counterpart, Atiku Bagudu also resolved to protect Nigerians wherever they reside notwithstanding their ethnic background while states are to henceforth pay compensation for damages and reconstruct destroyed homes during targeted attacks.

According to the NEC resolution, concerted efforts would be made henceforth towards the immediate investigation, arrest, and prosecution of all perpetrators of crime in the country while both the States and Federal governments should ensure the full protection of all Nigerians wherever they reside, without regard to ethnic, religious, or regional status.
Both the Federal and State governments, NEC stressed should recommit to “the protection of all residents of all States including non-indigenous communities and religious and ethnic minorities within state jurisdictions.”

Similarly, it was resolved that in collaboration with federal authorities, there should be the commencement of “the reconstruction of destroyed homes and payment of compensation where appropriate by State authorities for damage to property and livelihoods sustained during targeted attacks on communities within their jurisdictions.”
The Council deliberated on the security situation in the country and reached a consensus on a mutual framework for addressing the protection of vulnerable communities, especially ethnic and religious minorities.

The Governors reaffirmed their commitment to national unity and pledged among other things, to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of crime, to collaborate with federal authorities to reconstruct destroyed homes, and pay compensation where appropriate for damage to property and livelihoods during targeted attacks on communities, as well as the unequivocal condemnation of manifestations of hatred, hate crimes and related violence against communities.

Other resolutions of NEC include:
*In collaboration with federal authorities, the reconstruction of destroyed homes and payment of compensation where appropriate by State authorities for damage to property and livelihoods sustained during targeted attacks on communities within their jurisdictions;

*Ensuring that deceased victims of such violence are duly accorded dignified burial rites;
*The immediate public and unequivocal condemnation of all manifestations of hatred, targeted violence, and other hate crimes against ethnic, religious, and minority groups;

*Ensuring that local security initiatives – whether they are State government law enforcement agencies or local vigilante groups or the Community Policing programme of the Nigeria Police Force – are inclusive and are composed with due consideration given to adequate representation of non-indigenous/minority resident communities;

*Ensuring that all State, local and communal security initiatives operate according to guidelines consistent with State legislation and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other relevant laws and are subjected to rigorous oversight;

*Ensuring that innocent citizens and entire communities are not slandered, harassed, or victimized for the crimes perpetrated by criminal elements within those communities on the basis of ethnic or religious affiliation.
*The continued organization of and participation in town hall meetings in the localities where ethnic strife has taken place by Governors representing all geopolitical zones.

*That State Governments have statutory jurisdiction over forest reserves and will seek federal support for efforts to eradicate forest-based crime. (Council deliberated on how forests should be better managed and secured against criminals and criminality.)

*That the National Livestock Transformation Plan is a comprehensive strategy for addressing the farmer-herder conflict developed by the States in collaboration with the Federal Government and Governors will seek its full implementation. (States are encouraged to promote modernization of livestock and Council, therefore, called for the strengthening of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.)
*The strengthening of border controls to discourage cross-border crimes and the effective observation of ECOWAS Transhumance protocols.

*Strategy for President’s vision on poverty eradication.
The NEC meeting also included a presentation of the strategy for the realization of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to bring 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, PEAC.

Council thereafter resolved that the Technical Committee of NEC be set up with three Governors and representatives of the Federal Government to look at details of States’ involvement and how their concerns could be addressed regarding the presentation and the implementation of the strategy.

Also at Thursday’s meeting of the Council,
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made a presentation on the need to expand voter access to polling units across the country at the end of which FEC resolved to support the Commission’s bid to convert polling booths to full-fledged polling units and work out the details of doing so at the state level.