By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
Prisons Rehabilitation And Welfare Action (PRAWA) in partnership with Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) have charged oil communities Owaza clan, Ukwa West local government of Abia State to always maintain a peaceful co-existence between them and the oil companies operating in their areas.
The groups made this charge in a sensitisation workshop entitled strengthening capacities to promote security and human rights good practices around extractive and other industries in Nigeria” which was organised by Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD).
Executive Director of PRAWA,Dr Uju Agomoh ,who was represented by Linda Reuben senior program officer of the organisation, said that dialogue is an indispensable tool in curtailing unrest between the host communities and oil companies.
She also said that development cannot thrive in the alongside conflicts could not thrive amidst insecurity, adding that PRAWA would always adopt measures to detect early warning signals as to nip conflicts on the bud.
According to her, the workshop has provided the organisation the opportunity to hear from members of Owaza clan to enable them design the appropriate responses to issues that have provoked their grievances.
Executive Director Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy & Development Executive Director of FENRAD Nigeria, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor applauded PRAWA for laudable the intervention, and also stressed the need for dialogue as a veritable tool to douse tensions between the communities and oil companies.
Nwafor also said that though gas flaring and oil spill have induced untold hardship on the people of the area, towing peaceful approaches to negotiate is the best.
Highlight of the workshop include the presentation of voluntary principles smartphone APP, posters and stickers to participants.
The participants resolved to create strong awareness on voluntary principles, engage critical stakeholders on the issues raised and create social media platforms.
It will be recalled that voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) are non-binding soft laws established in 2000 to offer guidance to extractive companies(oil, gas and mining companies) in maintaining the safety and security of the facilities and operations with respect for human rights.