By Anolu Vincent, Owerri
A group known as Oguta Human Rights Monitoring Committee has been set up in the Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State to monitor reported cases of Human Rights abuses in the area with particular emphases on voluntary principles (VPS).
The group’s spokesman, Christian Okororie, said that the committee was also to focus on the operation of security agencies in the oil-rich local government area and its co-relationship with the extractive (oil/gas) industries operating in the council on one hand and the security agencies on the other land.
Mr. Okororie disclosed this at a one-day sensitization workshop on voluntary principles on security and human rights in Oguta by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), CLEEN FOUNDATION, which featured the presentation of a paper on “Creating a Healthy Environment for the development of community” by the Executive Director, Development Dynamics and central coordinator, Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Network (NIDAN) Dr. Jude Ohanele.
Okororie, who identified the absence of sound moral and academic discipline among the youths as a potential threat of human rights said that the committee had already identified the wanton display of arms and ammunition by some reckless youths as a security threat in all communities in the area.
He observed that the various oil companies operating in the Oguta LGA had been indifferent in the performance of their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) as a result of the delayed MOU between the LGA and NAOC in particular.
“But as fate may have it, we are happy to inform you that the much awaited MOU and NAOC is to be signed soon and various challenges confronting Oguta Community will soon be a thing of the past”.
Okororie commended the CLEEN FOUNDATION for facilitating the project of empowering communities, stakeholders, security agencies and the oil and gas companies in the use of voluntary principles mechanism in resolving human rights issues.
The programme officer of the NGO, Mr. Ifeanyi Anyanwu, in an address, decried the upsurge of youths restiveness, violent confrontations between oil companies and their host communities and the resultant vandalisation of oil installations in the area.
He regretted that the ugly situation had contained to impede the growth and transformation of the communities in the local government area, stressing that it is imperative for the oil producing communities, oil companies and the government to work in harmony for growth and preservation of the economy. This, he said, would bring about the desired development in the Niger Delta region and the nation at large.
Anyanwu said that the workshop, which was the second phase to be held in the LGA, has the intention to arouse the consciousness of the indigenes of the area as stakeholders and to secure the collaboration of the Niger Delta Anti corruption Network in the fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism.