CISLAC Laments Human Right Violations in Oil, Gas and Mining Sectors
NEWS DIGEST – CISLAC is recommending the adoption and implementation of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) with hopes that companies will give more thought to the human rights of citizens, foremost in their host community.
Human rights challenges in Nigeria took centre stage in a conference called by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre in Abuja.
The Civil Society Organisation said its investigation of several host communities in the country has established the “vulnerability of women, children and disabled persons to rights violation.”
“It is expedient for government to put in even more effort towards prevention, investigation, punishment and providing redress to victims through effective policies, legislation, regulations and adjudication,” said Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the Executive Director of CISLAC.
The environmental problems in these host communities were “glaring” upon the visit of its journalists, CISLAC said.
Communities such as Awowo Akpali and Onupi in Kogi state and Ogbagba in Osun state, were active mining are practiced, had suffered huge environmental degradation at the time of visit. They included “erosion, destruction of soil and farmlands, contamination/pollution of their water which has led to illnesses and death amongst residents,” Rafsanjani said.
The companies who also exploit these host communities were observed to barely employ residents and reward those employed with menial jobs irrespective of their qualifications.
These companies, CISLAC said, were unresponsive to the community leaders call for redress despite being responsible for the eco-system and security challenges that the communities were faced with.
“Several households have been displaced,” Rafsanjani said of oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
Due to oil spills, regular flaring of harmful gases and discharge of effluents into marine environments, many communities have seen massive death of fish and aquatic organisms, poor agricultural yields and loss of livelihood, Rafsanjani explained.
CISLAC believes that NAP which it says is an audit of the human rights situation in the country would help to realise the advancement of human rights in the country.
The National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights would ensure that businesses weigh the positive and negative impact of their operations in their host community and provide measures they intend to take to mitigate those impacts.
“Community development is a matter of right and should not be seen by companies as doing favours to the community,” Rafsanjani said. “Such developments by companies should not be a replacement or substitute for government obligation towards communities.”
Rafsanjani talked up the need for effective remedy for communities or persons who are victims of human rights violations in the course of business.