AITA Commends NEITI for Promoting Transparency

An Abuja based anti-corruption NGO, Almushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA) applauds the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for the giant strife to work together to deepen Nigeria’s implementation of Contract Transparency and Beneficial ownership disclosures.

Speaking to newsmen in his Abuja office, AITA National President; Ambassador Aminu Abubakar Majidadi admitted receipt of press statement by NEITI on its collaboration with DPR. This is in line with putting commitments to enable Nigeria to meet the compliance standards required in the implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure, contract transparency, environmental reporting, gender, mainstreaming and the implementation of recommendations in the NEITI audit reports as it concerns the DPR.

Recalled, the two agencies made the commitments recently in Lagos at a strategic meeting between the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, and the management of the DPR led by the Director of the agency, Engineer Sarki Auwalu.

In his speech, Dr. Orji described the strategic meeting as productive and quite encouraging in building inter-agency confidence and trust. “We must applaud the DPR that a lot has changed, a lot is changing but also acknowledge that a lot more needs to change. The whole essence of NEITI’s interventions is to ensure that revenues from our natural resource assets support national development and help reduce poverty”.

Dr. Orji pointed out that NEITI’s work is to complement those of the regulatory agencies in the extractive sector in Nigeria. “We celebrate successes that agencies like the DPR have recorded because those are also NEITI’s success stories. We do not want to remain an island of transparency and efficiency, so we work with other stakeholders in the industry to bring about the needed change, Dr. Orji emphasized.

He further said that he and his team were at the DPR to “Seek partnership and collaboration, complement our efforts at building the Nigeria oil and gas industry and to work with the DPR on all the pending issues especially on the remedial issues, findings and recommendations in the NEITI reports”.

According to the Executive Secretary, “NEITI firmly believes that Nigeria should be able to track, monitor efficiently and measure empirically what we produce, what we have lost to process lapses, vandalism, outright stealing and sabotage. We want to work with you on this issue because it is for the good of the industry and our country”.

On his part, the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Sarki Auwalu, affirmed that the DPR and NEITI share common vision of transparency and accountability in the nation’s energy sector. He asserted that his team will work with NEITI to close the existing gaps raised in the agency’s reports of the oil and gas sector. According to the DPR boss, “Most of the FDIs into Nigeria are in the oil and gas sector, so the sector is very profitable and competitive and the DPR is at the center of driving the reforms in the sector”.

However, Ambassador Majidadi said, “AITA as an anti-corruption NGO that has over the years promoted transparency and accountability in both government and private institutions is proud of NEITI and new development which clearly shows readiness by NEITI to take the lead in compliance to principles of transparency and accountability thereby discouraging mismanagement and other corrupt practices in oil and gas sector.

“At this point, we applaud the pragmatic style of leadership exhibited by Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji that has given Nigerians a sense of confidence in the activities of NEITI and how it has so far preached the gospel of transparency and accountability in institutions and agencies.” Majidadi ended.