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National: Global Rights Trains Journalists on Business and Human Rights issues in Nigeria

On Tuesday the 21st of May, the Global Rights organisation ended a two-day workshop on “Media Training on Business and Human Rights Reporting in Nigeria.”

The workshop was held in Lagos with over 20 journalists from various media organisations across Nigeria, including employees from Premium Times, Tribune, ThisDay and BusinessDay, in attendance. It was aimed at facilitating increased and informed media coverage on the intricacies of business and human rights in Nigeria and the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in particular.

The training also incorporated interactive sessions, documentaries, active learning modules on human rights, social and environmental impact assessments, the institutions, laws and regulations governing business as well as human rights in Nigeria.

Speaking during the opening session of the two-day training, the Executive Director‎ of Global Rights, ‎Abiodun Baiyewu, implored the media to continue in its tasking role of holding the government accountable and dwell more on publishing stories focused on business and human rights issues in Nigeria. While highlighting activities centred on mining in Nigeria, she said: “Environmental Impact Assessment is a crucial undertaking for any government that is serious about the entrenchment of corporate accountability, protection of lives of its citizens & sustainable development.”

While engaging the participants on a topic focused on the tension between companies and host communities in the extractive industry, she cited examples of some notable Nigerian extractive companies with a chequered history of environmental degradation, which impact on host communities.

The two-day training had different engaging sessions such as “Understanding Consumer & Employee’s Rights,” facilitated by Mrs. Susie Onwuka, Head of Consumer Protection Commission, “Overview of the basics of Human Rights: Concept, Laws and Policies at the Media training on Business and Human Rights,” facilitated by Aderonke Ige of Global Rights, laying a foundation for the probing questions on the law & Human Rights compliance in Nigeria.

Gabriel Prolly of CSR in Action also made an insightful presentation on the subject of Corporate Social Responsibility, stating that CSR neither automatically mitigates infringements on people’s rights nor substitutes for irresponsible corporate behaviour.

The training further featured the role of media in human rights advocacy as facilitated by Edmund Obilo. In his session, he urged journalist to have the power of projection, armed up with facts, and the ability to interpret the facts when writing stories.

Mr Dayo Aiyetan of the ICIR spoke on the Principles for investigative journalism and the use of the Freedom of Information Act for journalists, stressing that since 2011 when FOI Act was passed, it has helped to expose secrets about government activities and provided credible information, urging journalists to effectively utilise act when writing their stories.

Niyi Oyedeji, a reporter from the Tribune Online, told Campus Reporter that the programme met his expectations, saying: “Personally, I have gained more insight on how to do proper investigations both on human rights and other issues.”

At the end of the two-day media training, Ms Jummai Pam from the Global Rights organisation gave the vote of thanks urging journalists to practice what they have learnt.

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