The National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has received updates on the reports of the state judicial panels set up across the country after EndSARS protests in 2020.
Presidential spokesperson, Laolu Akande, on Friday, said the vice president urged states where the panels were still sitting to also send interim reports “so as to measure progress.”
Mr Akande said the vice president informed the council that the reports were now being received ahead of a council’s meeting where presentations would be made on them.
“It will be recalled that the council recommended the establishment of judicial panels nationwide to address complaints of police brutality after the president dissolved the Police SARS unit.
“Almost all states in the federation set up the panels, including the Federal Capital Territory,’’ he said.
The EndSARS protests which were organised to protest police brutality later turned violent when they were hijacked by thugs.
The federal government, after a global outcry, eventually dissolved the notorious Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) and announced ‘police reforms’.
It then directed states to set up panels to investigate cases of human rights abuses levelled against police operatives.
Many of the panels are concluding the assignment.
The Lagos panel is also investigating the shooting of unarmed protesters by Nigerian soldiers at the Lekki tollgate last year during the crisis.
NEC comprises the 36 state governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (GBN) and Federal Government officials whose duties hinge mainly on the economy.
Meanwhile, Mr Akande said NEC has endorsed the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
Mr Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, gave the highlights of the emergency virtual NEC meeting anchored on Friday from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The MTEF is annual, rolling three-year-expenditure planning which defines the medium-term expenditure priorities and hard budget constraints against which sector plans can be developed and refined.
Mr Akande said that Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, presented the MTEF to the council.
He said that the minister told the council that draft of the 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP was prepared against the backdrop of global economic recovery, amidst improved vaccination outlook and lower incidence of COVID-19 infections.
The presidential spokesman said that Mrs Ahmed informed the council that the Nigerian economy sustained a moderate recovery in first quarter of 2021 posting a Year-on-Year (YoY) GDP growth of 0.51 per cent.
He said that the minister held that the moderate growth consolidated the exit from recession in the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting the easing of COVID-19 induced restrictions.
“The minister recalled that the economy, which lapsed into recession in the third quarter after 2020, after two successive quarters of negative GDP growth, promptly emerged from the recession with a positive 0.11 per cent GDP growth in fourth quarter of 2020.
“The Medium Term Fiscal Framework showed that there are continuing global challenges in the aftermath of the COVID-19.’’
Mr Akande said that the finance minister’s presentation to the council followed the public presentation of the paper on Thursday and the forthcoming presentation to the Federal Executive Council.
He said that the council was informed that the issue of the repayment of the Budget Support Facility had been resolved after a meeting presided over recently by vice president.
Others who attended the meeting concerning Budget Support Facility were Governor Kayode Fayemi, representing the states, the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
“Under the new arrangement, the Central Bank of Nigeria has offered a fresh bridging financing to states as they resume the repayment of the Federal Government-backed facility.’’
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