Nigeria with an estimated population of over two hundred million (UN 2021 estimate) is Africa’s largest democracy. The journey to the current democracy, popularly called the Third Republic, has been a chequered one. Following the overthrow of the Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari Regime by the military juntas, human rights generally, especially fundamental freedoms, took the backstage. Things peaked however, with the annulment of the June 12th Elections in 1993; the political imbroglio and crisis that ensued; and the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa, which caused sanctions to be imposed on the country by the international community, especially the EU countries and the USA.

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The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) gives a framework on how government and businesses are to protect and respect human rights, including what mechanisms are to be put in place to reduce, mitigate and redress business-related violations. This Action Plan seeks to operationalise these principles in practical, real and specific terms, exploring how government discharges the Duty to Protect in the context of business and how businesses operationalize the Duty to Respect and more importantly how to ensure Access to Remedy for individuals or communities adversely affected by business operations. It also encourages adoption of effective grievance mechanism by companies to address human rights issues.

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