Nigeria Finally becomes EITI Compliant

The International Board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has declared Nigeria as an EITI Compliant Country. The decision was announced in Paris, France at the 5th global conference of the EITI holding at the French Capital. This decision is an endorsement by EITI of Nigeria’s management of Extractive Industries Revenue.

In arriving at this decision, the EITI congratulated the Government of Nigeria for its commitment to the EITI process and the Board and management of NEITI for meeting all the conditions identified by the Board last October at its meeting in Tanzania.

The EITI International Board expressed satisfaction with the commitment of Nigerian Government to embrace openness and transparency in the management of oil, gas and solid mineral revenues through its support to the work of NEITI and its audit processes.

The World body particularly noted Nigerian’s commitment to extend its EITI implementation to include revenue flows from Nigeria’s interest in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ) of Sao Tome and Principe and the Solid Minerals Sector. The EITI advised Nigeria to ensure that implementation of ongoing actions in the JDZ and the Solid Mineral Sectors are effected by next year.

The EITI International Board also welcomed the revitalization of Inter-Ministerial Task Team to address remediation issues identified by NEITI audit reports and other far reaching measures taken by Nigeria through NEITI to enthrone transparency and accountability in the Extractive Sector. The EITI International Board expressed satisfaction with the content of the recent audit report by NEITI which covers the period 2006-2008 and called for the implementation of the recommendations contained in that report.

Reacting to the development, NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed described Nigeria’s endorsement as EITI Compliant Country as a landmark achievement. She said the challenge now is to ensure that these high standards are maintained and sustained in NEITI’s interface with the oil, gas and solid mineral sectors, in the discharge of its mandate under the NEITI Act of 2007. The NEITI Chairman, Prof. Asobie and other delegates to the conference noted that the development is an invitation to investors to explore the opportunities in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

It could be recalled that Nigeria was adjudged close to compliant at the October, 2010 meeting of the EITI Board held in Tanzania. At that meeting, Nigeria was given six (6) conditions to meet before it could become an EITI Compliant Nation. The conditions include publication of 2006-2008 NEITI audit report, publication of a Board Charter to streamline the Board of NEITI and the Secretariat, among others. The Board of NEITI and the NEITI Secretariat had set up a special task force for this purpose and ensured that Nigeria met all the conditions identified by the global body by February 1, 2011.

Nigeria’s delegation to the 5th EITI global Conference now in progress in Paris is led by the Chairman of NEITI/NSWG, Prof. Assissi Asobie, and the Executive Secretary, Mrs Zainab Ahmed. Other members of the delegation are the Chairman Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the President of Trade Union Congress, Comrade Peter Esele, former Presidential Adviser on Petroleum Matters, Alh. Ja’afaru Paki, representatives of the NNPC, NEITI’s Director of Communications, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji ,as well as representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CISLAC, PWYP and CATEIFFIN).

At the Conference, four other countries were also adjudged as compliant. They are Norway, Niger, Kyrgyzstan and Yemen. This brings to ten (10) the number of complaint countries. To date, thirty three (33) countries have embraced the EITI globally as implementing countries. The 5th EITI global conference with the theme ‘‘Transparency Counts’’ ends on Thursday 4th March 2011.

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