From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The National Economic Council (NEC) has agreed to designate special courts for the purposes of prosecuting purveyors of hate speech as well as suspected terrorists and kidnappers.
Also, in order to end incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country, NEC has agreed to address the delay in the criminal justice system,
These were part of the resolutions reached at last week’s retreat, according to the statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, Sunday evening.
The council is chaired by the Vice President and has the 36 states governors, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as members.
The presidential media aide said, in arriving at special courts for purveyors of hate speech as well as suspected terrorists and kidnappers, it was resolved that the Federal Government would help states to develop a template for such courts.
He said: “NEC members urged prompt action in the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of terrorist acts, kidnapping and purveyors of hate speeches.
“To facilitate this, the designation of special courts was also advocated and the consensus was that judicial and executive arms of the federal and state governments will be working together to establish such courts.
“The Federal Government will also be helping states develop a template on how such special courts would be established and managed.”
Also, the retreat highlighted the need for more effective coordination between the security and intelligence agencies, building synergy within the security community, without which optimal performance of different security and intelligence agencies might be difficult.
The statement noted that while issues about the funding of security agencies and provision of equipment also featured in the discussion, NEC agreed that funding was indeed key.
On the clamour for state police, Akande said the conclusion was that policing the country and the entire law enforcement generally could not effectively continue without devolving policing and law enforcement to the states.
It was, however, noted that while the idea of state police required constitution amendments, the community policing model must be enforced now.
The council stated that: “We must enforce a model that democratises security in such a way as to include everyone in the process of protecting themselves, securing their own lives and the lives of people in their community.
“The simple advantage of the arrangement is that it would involve the ordinary citizen in ensuring his security and that of his community.
“It must involve all local leaders, all structures of civil society. And on every street, the police ought to have one or two persons who can contact the police at short notice.”
The retreat also observed that defence budget and funding for other security agencies of government formed some of the biggest components of the budget, and, therefore, called for greater accountability of the resources.
On herdsmen and farmers’ clashes, NEC recognised the conflict as essentially a problem of land use, which has, however, taken an ethnic and religious coloration.
It was agreed that both the Federal Government and states needed to properly define the problems and eschew the ethno-religious construction of what is otherwise an economic challenge.
NEC stated that it would be useful bringing the different groups together to meet and discuss, and also work out some of the issues that concern them.
The NEC retreat, which deliberated on national security, featured presentations on terrorism in the North East; herders/farmers clashes; ethno-religious crises; regional agitations for secession and hate speech; kidnapping; and security challenges in the Niger Delta.
It was convened to review current security challenges across Nigeria, with a view to finding lasting solutions to identified problems.
At the meeting last Thursday, Osinbajo announced that the Nigeria Police would commence the implementation of a community policing programme