United Nations Independent expert, Professor Damilola Olawuyi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria has called for urgent emphasis on mandatory non-financial reporting on human rights performance of business enterprises, as an essential requirement for addressing adverse environmental, social and governance impacts of business operations on human rights across Africa.
Olawuyi who is a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, stated this during a courtesy visit to the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria (NHRC).
It will be recalled that Professor Olawuyi was recently appointed by the President of the UN Human Rights Council as Africa’s representative on the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, a position most recently occupied by Former Attorney General of Kenya, Mr. Githu Muigai.
He said the body has a mandate to promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights through country visits, capacity building and dialogue with governments and all relevant actors, especially business enterprises.
While commending the NHRC for its innovative programmes and efforts aimed at spearheading awareness and empowerment on business and human rights in Nigeria, Olawuyi emphasised that the courtesy visit to the NHRC, his very first visit since appointed to the Working Group, was a clear statement on how much the global community expects from Nigeria in terms of pioneering legal innovations that will advance the business and human rights agenda.
He pledged to work collaboratively with the NHRC to advance the important work of deepening a culture of human rights in business activities and investments in Nigeria and across Africa.
Olawuyi also emphasized that implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will require more targeted efforts to monitor and track the level of compliance by business enterprises in key sectors.
He also called on education institutions across Africa to take necessary steps to increase training, education and capacity development on business and human rights by introducing specialized courses that can help administrators, planners and policy makers to undertake the essential steps that will guide the country towards advancing the business and human rights agenda.
In his response, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu, SAN congratulated Professor Olawuyi, SAN on his well-deserved appointment and emphasized the Commission’s readiness and commitment to collaborate with the Working Group in accelerating the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Nigeria.