STRENGTHENING ADVOCACY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT (SACE)
What the project is about
- The extractive sector in Nigeria suffers from corruption resulting from lack of transparency and accountability in government because civil societies have not been able to effectively engage and communicate effectively to mobilise citizens to exert the necessary pressure by demanding accountability from government. If civil society groups are institutionally strong, knowledgeable in issues of the extractive industry, collaborate effectively, create the right linkages, acquire appropriate communication skills, undertake sustained issue based advocacy and effectively mobilise citizens, their influence will increase and citizens will be demanding accountability to precipitate the needed change that will increase transparency and accountability in the management of revenue from the extractive sector in Nigeria.
- Considering that Nigeria is a federation and revenue from oil is shared among the three tiers to fund their activities, it is essential to build a coalition of several civil society organisations that are knowledgeable enough of the issues and possess the requisite skills to engage relevant agencies and institutions and mobilise citizens within their immediate constituencies to exert the necessary pressure to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of what constitutes about 80% of Nigeria’s revenue and 95% of her foreign exchange earnings.
*Overall purpose of the project
The goal of the project is to increase transparency and accountability in management of revenue from the extractive sector in Nigeria by strengthening the capacities of civil society groups and citizens to effectively demand for accountability.
The expected results are:
- Strengthening of institutional capacity of individual cluster member organisations to undertake effective advocacy for transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from extractive sector.
- Increase in cluster members’ ability to collaborate and work as effective partners to influence public management and budget transparency to address the concerns of women, youth and persons with disability.
- Increase in citizens’ engagement in demanding for accountability in public finance management at federal, state and local government’s level.
- Development of cluster members’ skill to communicate effectively to influence relevant policies, legislations and government agencies and mobilise citizens to action.
- Increase in the number of civil society and citizens group effectively demanding for transparency and accountability in the management of extractive revenue in Nigeria.
- From the initial mapping of groups to assess the quality of institutional systems and strategic positioning of its cluster members, which stood at 20 initially mapped with only four (4) demonstrating some measure of the presence of the proposed institutional documents, the project has expanded this to about 45 groups with even less improvements and have finally zeroed on specific mentorship scheme to support the majority to improve their systems. The baseline represents a major achievement. A similar exercise targeted at groups in the North East, which had been shared with the USAID and State Departments could have contributed to the development of a North East Regional Intervention (NERI) project targeted at North East CSOs. This will further contribute to the development of cluster institutional capacity.
- The project, leveraging on other ongoing and related projects, has through a series of engagements isolated the remedial issues from the NEITI Audit Reports and reduced them into campaign issues. From the initial 35 extracted by the IMTT, to the eight (8) by the CSSO of the NEITI, there are now three broad issues that CISLAC would make the focus of its campaign to ensure increased transparency and accountability in the sector. With support for another project, a campaign strategy would be developed around the issues and driven by CISLAC and cluster members until December 2015. This will contribute substantially to advocacy, engagement and public awareness as a radio programme is envisaged as one of the campaign tools. The project has secured consultants to develop Extractive in Nigeria 101, an information tool kit that will present comprehensive information on the extractive sector in Nigeria in a simplified, user-friendly and participatory way that will allow the average citizen to understand the sector, be able to relate it to their lives and actively engage in demanding for accountability. This will also contribute to public awareness and civic engagement as it can be used to train trainers for step downs and reaching out to a wide range of audiences.
- The project has contributed to effective engagement with the new government for the reforms in the oil sector. This has contributed to securing specific political commitment from the highest levels and policy statements from the NNPC and the Presidency. This include the Presidency’s dissolution of a compromised NEITI Board as watchdog to promote transparency and accountability in the sector; it was undermining remediation of audit reports, the Presidency’s introduction of a Treasury Single Account with September 15, 2015, set as deadline. This will prevent the leakages that NNPC is notorious for; the decision by the NNPC to start publishing the report of financial transaction of the NNPC, the cancelation of off-shore producing arrangements, OPAs that were opaque and fuelled corruption and leakages, some ongoing re-structuring in the NNPC, the NNPC’s pronouncement to re-negotiate some oil contracts, as well as, introduce an open, transparent and competitive process for the award of some operational licenses in the oil and gas sector are products. including the need for the legislature to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and has through its engagement with the new government placed transparency and accountability on the oil and gas sector as a major issue in public discourse, resulting in the momentum that can lead to change. This contributes to advocacy.
- One of our cluster members, the CDD, has the Buharimeter ongoing and this had included the promises made for increased transparency on the extractive sector, a campaign promise that will be tracked. Presently on the website, the specific promise to implement recommendations of NEITI audits remains ‘not rated,’ indicating that implementation in a manner that can be tracked has not commenced. This is a concrete means of social media tracking and combined with an ongoing radio programme, contributes to civil engagement and public awareness. Similarly, the social action, though a policy brief related to transparency and accountability on the sector from the environmental and community involvement angle has contributed to engagement by disseminating the brief to policy makers and the legislature, while mobilizing citizens who have been mobilised to write petitions to specific institutions demanding increased space for participation in decision-making on extractive issues because of the environmental impact.