From 21-25 March 2022, DCAF travelled to Nigeria to support local civil society partners PRAWA and LITE-Africa to engage key stakeholders in VPs implementation.
In an unprecedented first, community leaders from Owaza (in Abia State) and Ibeno (in Akwa Ibom State) participated in the Nigeria National Working Group on the VPs (NWG) with the objective of improving constructive engagement between the Nigerian government, companies and communities in the multistakeholder forum of the NWG. Participants discussed strategies, ways forward, and brainstormed processes for how the NWG can address community-level security and human rights concerns with relevant VPs stakeholders. The community representatives included traditional chiefs and rulers, womens' rights organisations and youth organisation leaders.
DCAF and the local partners also organized a technical workshop with Nigerian government ministries and the National Human Rights Commission to promote VPs implementation at the national level. The workshop gathered Nigerian technical government staff to discuss how the VPs interface with Nigeria’s policies and laws and to identify gaps that exist and needs for guidance, tools, knowledge and resources in implementation.
Background to the project: DCAF and PRAWA have been partnering since 2018 on development of training and outreach materials and community engagement on the VPs. In 2020, DCAF supported LITE-Africa in the development of a baseline study that highlights the progress and opportunities in the implementation of the VPs. The study identifies recommendations for the Nigerian government on developing, reviewing and updating existing laws and processes to strengthen the protection of human rights and security by business.
In early 2021, PRAWA introduced the VPs to community members and identified ‘desk officers’ in the Owaza and Ibeno communities to follow up and monitor security and human rights issues. Following community capacity building workshops in December 2021, DCAF and PRAWA engaged the NWG as the mechanism and primary forum for VPs implementation support in Nigeria.
The activities were supported by Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Photo: The technical workshop breakout groups included high-level inputs from the National Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 24 March 2022, Photo: DCAF