Seven years after, Nigeria — ‘Giant of Africa’ has no action plan on business and human rights

Despite being one of the 12 countries that promoted the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights in 2011, Nigeria is yet to launch its own National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights.

This was revealed on Wednesday at a National Roundtable on National Business and Human Rights organised by Global Rights in collaboration with the government, businesses, regulators, business host communities, consumers and civil society.

The objective was to develop a comprehensive National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights in Nigeria.

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Abiodun Baiyewu-Teru, Global Rights Country Director, stressed why an action plan is important for business and human rights.

She regretted the absence of Nigeria at the Business and Human Rights summit convened by the United Nations last year, where countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia presented their action plan on business and human rights.

“Without an action plan on business and human rights, there will be chaos and conflict between host communities and businesses that operate in that community,” she said.

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While delivering her speech, Ifeoma Nwakama, Director of Planning, National Human Rights Commission, said though Nigeria has a national action plan for the protection and promotion of human rights, the initial action plan does not have a section on business and human rights.

She said Nigeria can not experience sustainable development, if the situation that allows infringement on human rights thrives.

When asked about the relevance of the guiding principle on human rights, since it is  voluntary, she said the security of business environment can only be guaranteed through the enforcement of human rights.

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While  businesses think about about the issues of security, they also have to think about issues of human rights, and seek to protect the rights of people, especially the communities where they operate, she said.

“And Government needs to do more.”

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