Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that the huge amount of information and data contained in its various annual audit reports on how Nigeria’s extractive sector has fared so far have been largely ignored by Nigerians.
NEITI also explained that the fact that Nigerians do not take advantage of such available information to push for the actualisation of reforms in the country’s extractive sector was a huge setback on attempts to push for deeper transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.
NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio expressed this concern recently at a forum in Abuja. He noted that the availability of information and data in the public domain would not be enough except citizens use them to push for and promote accountability and good governance of Nigeria’s oil, gas and solid minerals.
Adio equally expressed the regret that although NEITI has through its various audits put a lot of information in the public space for citizens to use, they have yet to effectively utilise the findings and recommendations to bring about positive reforms in natural resource governance in Nigeria.
According to him, NEITI’s latest audit report covering both the solid minerals and oil and gas industries for the year 2013 will be published within the next few weeks. He thus asked citizens to look out for the content of the report with which they could use to ask for accountable governance of the sector.
Adio stressed that except and until remedial issues contained in such audit reports are adequately and fully implemented, it will be difficult for Nigeria to eventually reform her extractive industry into a dynamic and result oriented industry.
Similarly, the former Chairman of NEITI’s National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), Prof. Assisi Asobie called on the government to work with NEITI to lead Nigerians out of the resource curse.
Asobie who said the consequences of resource curse were poverty, ignorance, and misery, added that recently resource endowed nations whose citizens wallow in abject poverty are also prone to social unrest, conflicts and terrorism.
He tasked stakeholders in the extractive sector to consistently empower citizens with accurate information that could build their confidence and trust in the transparency and accountability process which NEITI stands for.