NEITI Incorporates FOI Clause to Advance Extractive Sectors’ Transparency

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has updated its website with a Freedom of Information (FoI) section, to enable Nigerians request for up to date information on its transparency activities in Nigeria’s extractive industries.

Developed in partnership with Right to Know (R2K), a Nigerian non-governmental organisation (NGO) and McAuthur Foundation, the reinvented webpage was unveiled yesterday in Abuja, at a brief ceremony witnessed by the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Dr. Joe Abah, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, Deputy Director, Africa Office for McAuthur Foundation, Mr. Oladayo Olaide and Chairman of R2K, Uche Onyeagucha.

The new website which is modelled after that of the BPSR, will provide an opportunity for the Nigerian public to make FOI requests on NEITI and get responses to their requests on time irrespective of their location.

While urging Nigerians to take advantage of the FOI portal to push for improved transparency in the activities of operators in Nigeria’s extractive industries, Adio said: “The FoI portal on the website is an important tool for checking sharp practices, promoting development and restoring the rights and powers of citizens to know because transparency is the middle name of NEITI.”

He noted that NEITI had to live up to its responsibilities of improving accountability in the management of Nigeria’s oil, gas and solid minerals resources by adding the FoI clause to its webpage.

According to him, the new website with the FoI clause was designed to provide urgent access and feedback to the public on NEITI’s operations in compliance with the provisions of the FoI Act.

He explained that information and data contained in the NEITI reports and other issues in the extractive sectors would be made available to interested Nigerians on the basis of the FoI Act.

“Power belongs to the people. When institutions are transparent and accountable, power remains with the people,” Adio added.

Similarly, Abah stated that the steps taken so far by NEITI to make its operations open, efficient and accountable were consistent with the on-going public service reforms within the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.

He also urged all government MDAs to borrow from NEITI in opening up their activities for public scrutiny and accountability.

Also, Olaide, in his remarks said that the MacArthur Foundation would be willing to work with NEITI and other agencies of government in Nigeria to enthrone transparency and accountability in their operations.