Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa
A group, known as Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment, Lite-Africa, has called on security agencies to endeavour to undertake adequate background checks of potential officers during the enlistment and recruitment process into their various security agencies.
The group said that the security agencies should give their operatives adequate human rights’ trainings before deploying them to various companies’ facilities
The forum lamented that massive human rights violations were perpetrated in the extractive sector by both private and public security personnel engaged by companies to provide security services.
The Federal Government has also been called upon to demonstrate its commitment towards promotion of human rights in the extractive sector by signing up to and joining the VPS Initiatives as a signatory.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a multi stakeholder hybrid forum on voluntary principles on security and human rights organised in Abuja by Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment, Lite-Africa, with support from the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, Security and Human Rights Implementation Mechanism, DCAF SHRIM GRANT, the group noted that nothing serious was being done by the government and the companies to address this ugly situation.
The forum stated that Nigeria’s membership of the voluntary principle initiative will demonstrate greater commitment of the country’s government to the promotion and protection of human rights and create a more secure environment for potential investors in the extractive sector.
The communique reads in part: “Insecurity and business related human rights violations can be minimized through institutionalization of the Voluntary Principles and Human Rights Guidance Mechanisms and Standards.
“This institutionalization of the voluntary principle initiative can be achieved through legislation and effective policies. It has become imperative for VPs mechanisms to be mainstreamed in extractive industry’s operations.”
Earlier in his opening address, Joel Bisina, Executive Director of LITE-AFRICA said that the gathering was to seek how the VPs can be used as a tool to proffer mutually acceptable solutions to the security and human rights challenges in the Nigeria extractive sector.
He stated that governments, businesses, and non-governmental organisations can play crucial roles in promoting human dignity and fundamental freedom in the extractive sector through voluntary principles.
The workshop had as its specific objectives to evidently guide the activities of the Nigeria working group and provide a national policy framework for voluntary principles implementation activities in Nigeria, increase awareness and foster collaboration among cross-pillars in the promotion and protection of human rights in a business environment.