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Adoption Of UNGP, A Plus For Nigeria

Posted: Sep 11, 2015 at 12:06 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Nkasiobi Oluikpe,


Following series of allegations of corporate human rights abuses in various countries and in different sectors across the globe, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business (UNGP). The UNGP contains 31 guiding principles, with the Protect, Respect and Remedy (PRR) frameworks, to help businesses better manage their relationships with their stakeholders.

As a way of driving the UNGP to the public domain, the Africa Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), a think tank and resource centre, with the support of OxfamNovib, Netherlands, held a-three-day training workshop for Nigerian business journalists with the theme:  Reporting Corporate Social Responsibility; using the Framework of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) to develop a National Action Plan.

Participants were drawn from 25 media houses including the prints and electronic media. Topics covered at the training/consultation included: an overview of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business; developing a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the UNGP on human rights and business; introduction to knowledge based journalism; the role of businesses in promoting human rights and reporting corporate social responsibility.

While participants at the workshop commended the Federal Government for paying closer attention to the issue of human rights in all aspects of the country’s national life, they also made the following recommendations: That the Federal Government should endorse and adopt the UNGP on human rights and business because it will help businesses to build sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with the public.

That the Federal Government should establish a National Council on Corporate Social Responsibility to oversee the implementation of the NAP on the UNGP on human rights and business, as it is done in countries such as the UK, Netherlands and Denmark;

That the organised private sector, should  implement the UNGP on business and human rights in order to build mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships with their various stakeholders.

That the National Human Rights Commission should begin the implementation of the proposed Human Rights Fund for the victims of human rights violations especially those who have suffered from corporate-related human rights abuses.

That the National Universities Commission, National Commission on Colleges of Education, National Educational Research Council and National Board for Technical Education start the process of incorporating the provisions of the United nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business into the national curriculum.

That development partners, government at all levels and the organised private sector support an intensive capacity building  programme on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business.

That the media enhance their awareness-creation around the UNGP and the National Action Plan.

Highlighting some of the reasons why the UNGP would be useful for Nigeria, Austin Onuoha, founder, ACCR noted that unconfirmed research has it that Nigerian businesses spent approximately, N20 billion, in litigation between 2012 and 2014. Within the same period, an unnamed manufacturing and other production companies lost more than $5billion due to production disruption induced by community uprising.

Also, he noted that more than 80 per cent of workers in the manufacturing sector are casual labourers with the attendant poor working conditions. More than 75 per cent of workers in the banking industry are contract staff. This, he said, has been responsible for the upsurge in fraud in the sector because there set of staff have no stake or future in these organisations.

According to Onuoha, in many Nigerian cities, companies empty their waste into the river from where people fetch water for domestic consumption and other uses. Environmental pollution, massive disruption of livelihood, damage to infrastructure and the high-handedness of security personnel, are some of the features of the presence of business organisations. Many businesses do not have effective and functional grievance mechanisms that resolve disputes between them and their stakeholders. This has led to resentment and fractured relationships.

Continuing, he said: “This needs not be so. Businesses play a great role in providing employment, building infrastructure, producing goods and services that add value to human life and civilisation, make profit and generally increase government’s revenue through taxes.