•Kicks against harassment of civil society groups in oil, gas space
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The global oil, gas and mining transparency organisation, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has handed down 15 areas Nigeria must improve upon if it intends to register any progress in its next validation due in January 2026.
In a document prepared by the Oslo, Norway-based 57-member country group, which seeks openness in operations in the extractive sector, the board determined that part of the “corrective actions and strategic recommendations”, must be alignment with requirement 2.2, which expects Nigeria to ensure that information on mining, oil and gas licence transfers are publicly disclosed.
It added that these information should include the identity of licences transferred and the process for transferring licences, and the technical and financial criteria assessed.
To strengthen implementation, the organisation said Nigeria should use the EITI to strengthen the oil sector regulator’s systematic disclosures of licencing information, including retention of historical data.
“The EITI board agreed the following corrective actions to be undertaken by Nigeria. Progress in addressing these corrective actions will be assessed in the next validation commencing on 1 January 2026.
“In accordance with requirement 1.1, Nigeria should ensure that the government is fully, actively and effectively engaged in and leading the EITI process.
“The government should ensure that the multi-stakeholder group overseeing the EITI process is consistently constituted in a timely manner and that there is sufficient opportunity for the broader industry and civil society constituencies to nominate their representatives to the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG).
“The government should ensure that it has consistent oversight of the NEITI secretariat, including in its financial management and recruitment practices,” the group said.
It also urged Nigeria to demonstrate its commitment to resolving bottlenecks such as legal barriers to disclosures, outreach to stakeholders that are not members of the NSWG, use of EITI data and other information to promote public debate.
Among others, it explained that in terms of participation of civil society, Nigeria should ensure that it is fully, actively and effectively engaged in all aspects of the EITI process.
Civil society groups, it said, must be substantially engaged in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the EITI process, and ensure that it contributes to public debate.
“The federal government is required to ensure that there are no obstacles to civil society participation in the EITI process and to ensure that there is adequate civil society representation in the oversight of Nigeria EITI to represent the constituency’s diversity,” it stressed.
It urged the government to undertake measures to prevent civil society actors from being harassed, intimidated, or persecuted for expressing views related to oil, gas or mining governance.
According to EITI, the government, in collaboration with the NSWG, should document the measures it undertakes to remove any obstacles to civil society participation in the process.
Another area of concern, it said, is that the invitation to participate in the NSWG should be open and transparent.
“Each stakeholder group must have the right to appoint its own representatives, bearing in mind the desirability of pluralistic and diverse representation. The nomination process must be independent and free from any suggestion of coercion,” part of the corrective action read.
It further stated that the NSWG and each constituency should consider gender balance in their representation to progress towards gender parity.
It stressed that all EITI officeholders must respect the principle of value-for-money and be responsible in the use of funds dedicated to the EITI.
“In accordance with requirement 2.3, Nigeria is required to ensure that dates of application and licence coordinates of each extractive licence and contract are publicly accessible for each active licence and contract in the mining, oil and gas sector.
“To strengthen implementation, Nigeria is encouraged to pursue its efforts to establish a modern cadastral management system for its oil and gas sector,” EITI added.
Quoting requirement 2.4, it stated that Nigeria is expected to disclose any contracts and licences that are granted, entered into or amended from January 1, 2021.
“Nigeria is encouraged to publicly disclose any contracts and licences that provide the terms attached to the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals,” it explained.
For all published contracts and licences, EITI stated that they should have a reference or link to the location where the contract or licence is published.
Nigeria, EITI said, is required to disclose the beneficial owners of all companies holding or applying for extractive licences, particularly for all extractive companies considered as ‘high risk’ by Nigeria EITI.
“Nigeria should ensure that the identity of any politically exposed person that is a beneficial owner of extractives companies be disclosed, regardless of the level of ownership,” the document stated.
Among others, some other actions Nigeria is expected to take, EITI said, include: Public disclosures from the government and NNPC of their level of ownership in mining, oil and gas companies operating within the sector.
It said that there should be consideration of whether there are any agreements or sets of agreements involving… concessions or physical delivery of such commodities, including both resource-backed loans and direct-sales-direct-purchases (DSDP) arrangements.
EITI further urged Nigeria to indicate which extractive industry revenues, whether cash or in kind, are recorded in the national budget.
Where revenues are not recorded in the national budget, the allocation of these revenues, it said, must be explained, with links provided to relevant financial reports as applicable.
“In accordance with requirement 5.2, Nigeria should disclose the revenue sharing formula for the 13 per cent derivations in the solid minerals, oil and gas sectors… as well as actual amount that was transferred between the central government and each relevant state government,” it stressed.