The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – a global body that ensures transparency around countries’ oil, gas and mineral resources – on Monday urged Nigerians to demand the implementation of the recommendations of the nation’s oil sector audit report.
The report, which indicted many companies and government agencies in the sector, was released in July by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
The International Chair, EITI, Ms. Clare Short, said Nigerians should demand a change in the running of the country’s extractive industries based on the findings of the NEITI audit report.
Short, who was on a working visit to Nigeria, spoke at a conference organised by NEITI for civil service organisations and stakeholders in Abuja.
She said, “The analysis done by NEITI is very impressive but the reforms that come from it haven’t been implemented yet. So, we are at a crucial point now where you need informed demand for a change.
“I think we are now in a position, especially in Nigeria, to make an informed demand and you are the people to make this.
“The comfortable ones in the society can make the changes and it has to be on behalf of those who are not getting their fair share as the demand for change comes.”
Short emphasised that a country’s natural resources belong to its citizens. She said citizens should have the right to see what their government was receiving from these resources.
“However, in too many countries, this information is not publicly available,” she added.
According to the EITI chair, if the Nigerian government would judiciously use the proceeds from the oil sector, the level of poverty in the country would be reduced “or eliminated before 2030.”
Short said President Goodluck Jonathan assured the EITI team of the Federal Government’s willingness to ensure that NEITI’s findings were upheld. The team had earlier visited the President.
“He (Jonathan) made strong commitments on issues that have to do with transparency in the extractive industry because they’ve got the power to make sure that things are done properly,” she said.
The Chair, Publish What You Pay, Ms. Faith Nwadishi, said if Nigerians refused to ask for the implementation of the recommendations of the NEITI audit, the findings of the report would be discarded.
Information from Punch was used in this report.