February 17, 2018

FG to VPI delegation: We’ll take decision on observer status soon

Malami, open grazing

Abubakar Malami (SAN) . Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami Friday expressed deep appreciation to the steering committee of the Voluntary Principles Initiative for prioritizing and recommending Nigeria as one of the countries to be considered for free subscription at the plenary in March 2018 at Washington D.C, United States.

AttorneyGeneral of Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami

He also announced that Nigeria would soon take a decision on her observer status.

“In due course, the nation will take a decision to evaluate her observer status” Malami said during the visit of the VPI delegation to the Ministry of Justice.

Represented by the Director, Legal Drafting, Mamman Hamzat Takir, Malami assured the delegation of the commitment of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the enthronement of the rule of law and the delivery of fair and equitable justice to all Nigerians, foreigners and investors without fear or favour as they carry on business in a safe condition.

“Considering the need for the communal cooperation and coordination of security and human rights activities in the extractive sector, it has become increasingly necessary to come together to appraise the efforts at both the government, corporate and non-governmental organizations levels to achieve a safe, friendly, secured, business and human rights compliant environment. This visit therefore, would give us the opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas and identify roadmaps that would facilitate a justice system that meets the hopes and aspirations of our citizens particularly in the extractive zones” he said.

The Minister assured that the Justice Ministry would stick to its role of checking and balancing the supremacy of the laws of the land and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“As you are aware, the Federal Ministry of Justice is the legal institution of Government to create the necessary synergy between the Federal Government, corporate bodies and non-governmental organizations as pillars of the Voluntary Principles Initiative”.

Earlier, the current chair of the Voluntary Principles Initiative, Mr. Ronald Roosdorp informed top officials of the ministry of the benefits that would accrue to Nigeria as a signatory to the VPI.

“It is not an instrument or a binding law. It is to reduce security risk in the attractive industry through dialogue and cooperation. It is also to improve things on ground and assist governments, companies and communities in achieving their goals” he said.

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is a multi-stakeholder initiative which espouses a set of principles designed to guide extractive companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respects for human rights.

Diligent implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights holds numerous potential benefits for Nigeria including peace-building; conflict prevention; enhanced governance of the extractive sector, promotion and protection of human rights; improving dialogue, cordiality, collaboration and problem-solving amongst stakeholders in the extractive sector with respect to issues of security and human rights.

In addition, it has the potential to contribute to an extractive sector that is conducive to trade and investment; where extractive companies can operate maximally, which would in turn enable the Nigerian government optimally generate revenues which can be deployed towards promoting the welfare of the nation and actualizing other national objectives.

The VPI is also an immensely useful tool for attaining the objectives of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, specifically in the area of security and human rights.

Countries that are signatories to the VPI include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Signatory extractive companies include: Seven Energy, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Statoil, Shell, Hess Corporation, Tullow Oil, Rio Tinto, British Petroleum; Anglo American, PanAust, ConocoPhillips, Goldcorp, Hess Corporation, Repsol, Barrick Gold Corporation, Glencore and BHP Billiton.

NGO signatories to the VPI include Lite Africa, COMPPART, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, Pact and The Fund for Peace.

The international observers participating in the VPI include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Council on Mining and Metals; Colombian Mining and Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights; The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association; Institute for Human Rights and Business; International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)