The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godwsill Obot Akpabio has urged stakeholders operating in the extractive industry in the Niger Delta region to embrace the principles of promoting security and human rights in their business environments.

The Minister gave this advice during a meeting he held with the Embassy of Switzerland delegate members of Nigeria Working Group on Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) in Abuja.

While commending members of the Working Group, Senator Akpabio noted that whether the principle is voluntary or not, it is necessary for all stakeholders to imbibe the principle in order to promote security and human rights. “It is an initiative we need to support to ensure that they become part and parcel of our culture of doing business, particularly in the extractive industries operating in the Niger Delta region”, he said.

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Still on the benefit of imbibing the principles of security and human rights, the Minister acknowledged that most conflicts experienced in the region are due to the high handedness of the Interventionist agencies which tend to escalate the conflict.

Senator Akpabio observed that if good working ethics are taught to security personnel it will go a long way in reducing conflicts in the region and Nigeria.

He advised the group to liaise with the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Ministry of Justice, so that the principles can be fully embraced to promote peace and security.

The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade, in his remarks stated that the Minister and management team of the Ministry have been working to ensure that the region strives in the atmosphere of peace and security to promote development in the region, adding that with “the Minister’s passion for the principles of security and human rights, a representative from the Ministry will join the working group as a member”.

Earlier in his speech, Head of delegation of the Nigeria Working Group on Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, Mr. Babatunde Ajala, explained that the group which comprises of Governments, Nigeria Government Entities, Companies, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Multinational Companies is geared towards promoting the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human rights.

 Mr. Ajala said the organization is a multi-stakeholder initiative which has the objectives of ensuring that security arrangement of extractive industries respects human rights in their host communities, despite the security challenges they are encountering. 

“The whole essences is to admit the fact that security is needed for their operation, but it also recognizes that the security must be within the framework that would respect human rights”, he said.

According to Babatunde Ajala, the voluntary principles is aimed at ensuring that, when public security personnels are engaged, they are trained to ensure that their activities minimize the possibility of violating the rights of people which may result in community unrest. “If well implemented it is a collaborative framework to bring about peace, help the business environment and help the security situation while everybody is working together to address the issues”.