Nigeria to adhere to human rights principle in extractive industry

Adoba Echono, Abuja


The Nigerian Government and Netherlands in partnership with Voluntary Principle Initiative, VPI, are working towards ensuring safety and adherence to human rights principle in the extractive industry.

The Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands and leader of VPI delegation Mr.Ronald Roosdorp, disclosed this after a meeting with Permanent Secretary, Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose, in Abuja.

Mr. Roosdorp said that the group was in Nigeria to chat a way forward on how to ensure safety in the extractive industry in Nigeria.

Improving Human Rights and Security
He said that Netherlands was the current Chairman of global initiative called the VPI on security and human right which aimed at improving the human right and security in the extractive sector.

“We are here for a week to speak with a lot of groups and stakeholders in the extractive sector to see what the initiative can do to improve the situation on ground so that the sector can be secured.

“We have met with the Ministries of Mining, Petroleum Resources, Justice, and Military and also been to Port Harcourt to see what the security situation is with the mining site,” Mr. Roosdorp said.

He said that the group had discussion with relevant authorities, stakeholders and NGO and that the response had been encouraging.

“The response has been very good people see the need to work together because improving security situation in the sector is of paramount importance.

“The issue is not something you can do alone, so we have to collaborate with a group of NGOs and government.

“We are trying to create awareness with all the relevant government agencies to have proper dialogue together which really is important, to improve the situation,”  Mr. Roosdorp added.

Etractive Human Rights protection
The Permanent Secretary, Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bamgbose said that the initiative was a group of government and non-governmental delegation from Netherlands on extractive industry’s human rights protection.

He said Nigeria has been chosen as one of the pilot countries to be visited and has already visited some states and some government agencies .

“The plan is to ensure that government adheres to the principle of human rights as related to the extractive industry,” Ambassador Bambgose explained.

He noted that there had been some restiveness from Niger Delta youth and agitation on oil spillage as well as welfare of the people which the initiative was set to address.

“It has to do with mining in terms of the welfare of the people operating there and it has also to do with the issue of illegal mining.

“Nigeria is not a full member, we are an observer, like I said Nigeria is chosen to be one of the pilot countries, they have also engaged with some stakeholders like the military,” he said.

Ambassador Bamgbose expressed optimism that the move would be of benefit to Nigeria.

Confidence Okwuchi