By Abubakar Jimoh
As part of its efforts to promote transparency and accountability in the extractive sector through effective media reportage, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Oxfam in Nigeria organized a One Day Training for Media Persons on Communicating NEITI Report Outcomes and Remediation Issues yesterday in Abuja.
While speaking at the forum, Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) expressed concern that between 2004 and 2011, over N1billion naira has been expended on the conduct of several Audit Reports to promote transparency and accountability in the oil sector, however, the recommendations of the Auditors have been ignored and greeted with poor and ineffective implementation resulting in impunity.
He said: “Most of the ongoing revelations regarding corrupt allegations in the oil and gas sector have been identified in various reports by Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency initiative (NEITI). We keep identifying problems without political will to implement recommendations. It thus becomes essential to build synergy with the media to promote accurate and effective reportage on the issues surrounding extractive sector.”
Director of Communications of NEITI Mr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, commended CISLAC extensive works so far on NEITI audit reports, adding that NEITI has partnered CISLAC as a credible institution to drive independent advocacy on various reports.
Also, the Programme Officer, Governance of Oxfam in Nigeria, Mr. Celestine Odo added: “It is worrisome that in spite of huge resources in Nigeria, large proportion of the population lives in abject poverty. The idea of getting media involve is very crucial to raise public consciousness and advocacy against the raising impunity in the extractive sector. CISLAC has been one of the reliable partners to Oxfam in promoting transparency in the oil and gas sector.”
Similarly, a Nigerian renowned journalist and Chairman Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Segun Adeniyi reiterated that though corruption has permeated every level of the nation’s socio-economic, there is no sector lacking transparency and accountability than the oil and gas sector. “Mostly, various corrupt practices in the sector have been under-reported. There is inadequate insightful and investigative media coverage of corruption cases to bring offenders to book,” he said.
A paper titled “The Media as Tool for Communicating and Tracking Remediation Issues from NEITI Reports” presented byMrs. Obiageli Onuorah of NEITI bemoaned lack of political will in combating challenges surrounding oil theft that has aggravated persistent oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and sabotage resulting in further destruction of the environment and colossal revenue loss to the nation
“Poor regulation of activities in the mining sector has led to increasing levels of illegal mining in the country has encouraged poor mining practices by artisanal small scale miners mining resulting in negative effects on the environment and health of local populations and loss of revenue to the government. In spite of the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team IMTT for the purpose of implementing remedial issues from Audit Reports, Nigerians are yet to feel the impact of their interventions calling to question, their commitment level of effectiveness,” she lamented.