The Prisoners Rehabilitation & Welfare Action,(PRAWA) and the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance on Saturday held a Community Awareness Outreach and Capacity Building on Reinforcing Voluntary Principles Implementation in Nigeria.
The non governmental agencies voluntary project was held at Owaza community in Ukwa-East Local Government Area of Abia State.
According to Dr Uju Agomoh the Executive Director of PRAWA, the collaboration of the NGO’s is in the second phase supported by the German government is to get the community to know about voluntary principles and divers ways they can access justice if they have leakage in anyway, they can complain of.
Dr Uju also hinted that the outreach is also aimed at the linkage between the human rights office in Abia and the Owaza community to avert conflicts.
In her words: “We want that synergy, we don’t want conflict but peace, we want a situation where oil companies, communities, government and everyone to all be at peace” .
Dr Uju also added that the move is to attract development.
The Senior Program Officer for PRAWA, Honest Offor, the training facilitator for the outreach said the essence of the training is to sensitize community leaders, members, local civil society organizations on the voluntary principles and the roles they can play to ensure the implementation of voluntary principles in Owaza community also to ensure that the exploration activities in their community do not infringe on the human rights of the people of Owaza community.
The traditional prime minister of Owaza community, Chief Maxwell Nwagbara said as a host community where oil exploration is taking place, they have been denied their rights.
Chief Maxwell added that his community has been denied employment and proper inclusion in the economic benefit, employment, proper health care due to effect of air pollution and development of Owaza community. He however admitted that with the outreach, they have gotten a proper way of channeling their grievances.
The Abia State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Barrister Uche Nwokocha, in her address to the participants emphasized on the importance of adopting peaceful approach in resolving conflicts between the host community and oil companies who engage in extracting activities in their region.
Barrister Uche charged the community stakeholders to always approach the NHRC to lay their complaints, assuring that the Commission will act prompt on their report or complain.
According to Barrister Uche, victims of human rights abuse can reach the NHRC for assistance at their office located at house 9 Item street by Calabar road, Umuahia, Abia State or call 09024425728, 08033766058, 08033473732 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
High point of the event was the appointment of Desk Officers from the community to be trained to spot and relate complains of extracting activities in their to the National Human Rights Commission they were also given the conferment of Human right ambassadorship.