By Victoria Ojeme
The Federal 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 in Nigeria.
Ronald Roosdorp, Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands and leader of VPI delegation, said this after a meeting with Foreign Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary, Amb. Olukunle Bamgbose, on Thursday in Abuja.
Roosdorp said that the group was in the country to chat a way forward on how to ensure safety in the extractive industry in Nigeria.
He said that Netherlands was the current Chairman of global initiative called the VPI on security and human right which aimed to improve 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,” he said.
He said that group has had discussion with a 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 importan, to improve the situation,” he said
Bamgbose said that the initiative was a group of government and non-governmental delegation from Netherlands on extractive industry’s human rights protection.
“Nigeria has been chosen as one of the pilot countries to be visited and has visited some states and of course some government agencies.
“This of course form part of our discussion from the ministry and our engagement with them.
“The plan is to ensure that government adheres to the principle of human rights as related to the extractive industry,” he said.
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 is set to take address.
“It has to do with mining in terms of the welfare of the people there
“It has also to do with the issue of illegal mining if any one violate the rule of mining such will face the wrath of the law either indigenous
“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 engage with some stakeholders like the military,” he said.
He was of the opinion that move would be of benefit to Nigeria.