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Report on Strengthening Capacities to Promote Security, Human Rights and Good Practices around Extractive and Other Industries in Nigeria: The Case of Biara Community in Ogoni Kingdom

Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE) visited the Biara community leaders in Gokhana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria, to inform them about the project objectives and secure their commitment to mobilize community men, women and youths to participate in the event.

We also engaged with the management of Nigerian Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to send representatives in the event.

FOCONE could not invite Shell Petroleum Development Company because they have seized production in the community due to violent conflicts (between Shell and Ogoni kingdoms), though, their pipelines still transport crude through the community.

We could not also invite any Private Security Company because none of them is rendering service in the Biara community.

On the day of VP awareness event, the Nigerian Police Force sent 2 representatives including the Human Rights Officer in Gokhana Local Government Police Divisional Headquarters. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps sent 4 Officers including the Divisional Officer in Gokhana Local Government NSCDC Divisional Headquarters.

More than 36 community members that comprised men, women, youths and leadership class participated in the event. They held that their relationships with Shell and security personnel are not cordial – the community has never been involved in the conduct of risk assessment, they said that Shell pollutes their environment (farmland, air and waters) and use security personnel to resist community protest instead of negotiating with them.

They posited that the commonest early warning signal in their community is “when youths start hanging around”. They said that their community raises awareness through town hall meetings, town crier, Churches, community clubs and schools.

FOCONE generated the following outputs from the activities it implemented.

• Mapped/identified Biara community for the intervention.

• Submitted list and contact details of recommended CSOs including grassroots/community based CSOs in the targeted community for sensitization.

• Participated in the virtual training for CSOs and media.

• Participated in the agenda/present during the community outreach programme.

• Made all logistics arrangement for the community outreach program, including refreshment for participants
• Collected attendance list including the names and other relevant data of all attendees of the Outreach event(s).

• Reflected Prisoner Relief Awareness and Welfare Association (PRAWA), Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and FOCONE’s names and logos on all the community outreach materials, visibility/publicity materials including programs, banners.

• Mobilized 42 persons that PRAWA strengthened their capacities on Voluntary Principles on Security and human Rights and on other relevant good practices; the process of identifying early warning signals, Complaints and Redress Mechanism and proper ways of identifying and engaging stakeholders; and the Voluntary Principles App.

• Increased understanding of the nexus between Security, human rights, business/development.

• Increased understanding of the Voluntary Principles on Security and human Rights and on other relevant good practices.

• Strengthened community capacities on the process of identification of early warning signals, Complaints and Redress Mechanism and proper Stakeholders engagement.

• Enhanced safe spaces to discuss key issues and challenges faced in the community on Human Rights and Business/Development.

• Increased awareness of the Voluntary Principles App, download and utilization of the VP App which is Perfect Mobile App on Google play store on Security and Human Rights.

By Comrade Patrick Chiekwe,
Founder and President of
Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE).
EIA Consultant, Solid Mineral Business Development consultant,
Environmentalist, and Collaborator with the United Nations System.

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