Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji

NEITI urges stronger partnerships to tackle corruption in extractive industries

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By Lucy Ogalue

The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, has called for stronger partnerships and collaborations among stakeholders to tackle corruption in Nigeria’s extractive industries.

Orji said this at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day 2023 in Abuja on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is: “UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World against Corruption.”

“We believes collaborations and partnerships among stakeholders present today can create innovative yet efficient and sustainable ways to propose solutions to address the corruption issues plaguing the country.

“Thus, NEITI is committed to supporting the fight against corruption by sharing credible information and data to ensure that corruption is minimised, if not eliminated, in the governance of Nigeria’s extractive sector.

“And recommend the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) model of multi-stakeholder consensus building and oversight as an option to implant accountability mechanisms in our governance institutions.

“I urge the stakeholders to have a robust discussion on issues centered on promoting transparency and strengthening accountability institutions to sustain peace, security, and the overall development of our country,” Orji said.

According to NEITI boss, the Corruption Perception Index 2023 ranking showed that Nigeria is still behind in its fight against corruption.

He said this was mainly in the oil, gas, and mining sectors, where corruption remained a significant constraint to realising ground-breaking reforms.

Orji said: “Nigeria lost more than 619 million barrels of crude valued at 46.16 billion dollars or N16.25 trillion between 2009 and 2020 through oil theft alone.

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“Moreover, Nigeria lost 4.2 billion litres of petroleum products from refineries valued at 1.84 billion dollars at 140,000 barrels per day, from 2009 to 2018.”

According to Orji, NEITI’s contribution to the fight against corruption highlights transactions and operations in Nigeria’s oil, gas, and mining sectors.

He said that through years of extensive independent reports, NEITI’s reports had led to reforms in the extractive sector and revenue recovery, mobilisation, and growth to more than 7.2 billion dollars through inter-agency collaboration.

The executive secretary also highlighted the recent global assessment by the EITI, where Nigeria scaled through its global assessment by the EITI.

He said the global body acknowledged and endorsed NEITI’s report to be credible.

The executive secretary, however, emphasised the need to review commitments and approaches to the war against corruption.

Orji called for a special workshop to review the objectives and goals of the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT), including what had worked and what had not over the years.

He called for a robust discussion on promoting transparency and strengthening accountability institutions to sustain peace, security, and overall country development.

While thanking stakeholders who had contributed to the fight against corruption in the country, Orji pledged NEITI’s commitment to sharing credible information and data to minimise, if not eliminate, corruption in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Representative in Nigeria, Oliver Stolpe, said combating corruption required a holistic framework and a multi-sectoral approach.

Stolpe, represented by Danilo Campisi, the Programme Coordinator, Criminal Justice, UNODC, said it was important for all stakeholders to join forces in preventing corruption at all levels.

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He said that to achieve this, a clear understanding of the underlying issues affecting the daily lives of citizens that might encourage corruption practices was needed.

According to him, addressing gaps in integrity, transparency, and accountability in government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) was crucial.

Stolpe urged citizens and the government to take an active part in establishing policies that discourage corruption practices.

He said it was critical to use an evidence-based approach in designing our anti-corruption interventions, which should apply to all levels of government and society.

The official then commended Nigeria for its active role in the implementation review mechanism (IRM) processes and other efforts to eliminate corruption.

Earlier, the Head of the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Curruption Reforms (TUGAR), Jane Onwumere, said the event presented an opportunity for us to assess our level of implementation of anti-corruption practices.

TUGAR is a government research and evaluation monitoring unit set up to ensure data policy nexus and inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

Its aim is to create awareness of the adverse effects of corruption and for all of us to unite and see how we can jointly combat corruption because that is the only way to ensure sustainable development.

The UNCAC began in 2003, and this year marks 20 years of convention implementation. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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