Some non-governmental organizations in Nigeria weekend urged law enforcement agencies to integrate the voluntary principles in their training programmes, mobilization and deployment of personnel to security duties in critical national assets in the oil, gas and mining sector as this will guarantee that rights of local communities will be respected.
They also appealed to government agencies, particularly those responsible for registering, licensing and regulating private security firms to integrate human rights observance as a precondition as this will go along in entrenching core human rights values and the culture of respecting the dignity of the human person in the country.
At a world press conference in Abuja, Executive Director, Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE), Mr. Joel Bisina said the launch of the In-country implementation pilot group and the visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria remained glorious achievements of the Voluntary Principles Initiative.
Attention, the LITE executive director said, was focused on increasing knowledge base through training, dialogues and consultative meetings on the VPs at the highest level of government.
“The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is anchored on three pillars. That is the Government Pillar, The Corporate Pillar and the NGO pillar respectively. As a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Voluntary Principles provide good sets of guidelines to companies in deploying security personnel to their facilities in ways that respect the rights of the communities in which they operate” he said.
Besides, he emphasized the role of NGO pillars in facilitating confident building dialogue when allegations of VPs non-adherence occur.
“NGO pillars are helping the government and the corporate pillars to identify areas that need improvement related to the VPs, support the development and roll out tools to improve implementation as well encourage participation in the implementation of the principles.
Bisina listed working singularly and collaboratively to advance and increase knowledge base in the country over the years as a major achievement of NGO pillar in Nigeria.
“The launch of the In-country implementation pilot group has further strengthened these efforts in bringing the pillars to a common room where they discuss security and human rights challenges creatively and collaboratively. This is clear departure from the past where it was a blaming and name calling game. The message is now ‘knowing and showing’ rather ‘them against us’ or ‘we against them’ this changing narrative underscore the power of the voluntary Principles in promoting consultations and dialogues among stakeholders in the extractive and mining sector through joint-problem solving”
He urged the Federal government to sign-on to the voluntary principles.
“The visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria this week further reinforces the work the In-country Implementation Working Group has been doing, in bringing greater visibility to the VPs at a very high level of government. It will be a great outcome for the country to sign-on to the VPs” he said.