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Group reports extractive firms’ rights violation in Niger Delta to Akpabio

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The Nigeria working group yesterday met Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to inform him about violations of human rights by security agencies attached to extractive companies in the Niger Delta region.

Led by the Senior Political and Economic Officer, Embassy of Switzerland, Babatunde Ajala, it said the objective of the visit was to ensure that security arrangement of extractive oil, gas and mining companies in the region respect human rights in their security arrangements.

Acknowledging the security challenges faced by extractive companies in the Niger Delta, Ajala noted that oil bunkering, oil theft and militancy have reduced compared to what it used to be in 2016.

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His words: “We see all the issues and we also see that companies need security for their operations, personnel and do those activities that will generate the income that Nigeria can tax to properly fund government’s activities apart from non-oil revenues.

“The whole essence is to acknowledge that security is needed for their operations, but it also must recognise the fact that the security must be within a framework that will respect human rights.

“When you send whether the police, civil defence or private security to secure operations of extractive companies it must be done a way that will not violate the rights of citizens.

“Because when they violate the rights of citizens, peace will be ruptured, there will be conflict and when there will be conflict the business environment will not be conducive for operation.

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“Our concern is that when they engage the public security for operation they should train them, communicate their policies to them, do risk assessment and do things that will ensure that risk of security men are minimised.

“If these things continue to happen, nobody benefits, not the companies, not the Nigerian government, everybody loses and so we must find a way to win together so that everybody will be happy at the end of the day.”

Responding, Akpabio urged oil companies to train their security personnel on good working ethics to reduce conflicts in the region.

He also advised the group to approach the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to see how they could help contain the menace.

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