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After suspension threat, NEITI moves to enhance implementation of EITI standards

After suspension threat, NEITI moves to enhance implementation of EITI standards
April 24
21:02 2024

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it has developed a corrective action plan to address issues identified in its validation report by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, executive secretary of NEITI, spoke at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

Orji said the briefing was necessary to address important developments following EITI’s mission in Nigeria.

“As part of the follow-up actions to the EITI delegation visit, NEITI has developed a corrective action plan to address the issues identified in the validation report,” he said.

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“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria’s corrective actions will focus on improving our ranking on stakeholders’ engagement, which includes: government, company and civil society engagements as well as multi-stakeholders’ governance.

“Other requirements are contracts and licence allocations and licence register contracts.

“Already, our strategy on improving stakeholders’ engagement has yielded very positive results.

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“We now have the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) in place with the secretary of the government of the federation (SGF) chairing the NEITI board.”

Orji also said the corrective action plan has been shared with the EITI international secretariat, outlining concrete steps to enhance Nigeria’s implementation of the global body’s standards.

‘NSWG NECESSARY TO MEET EITI STANDARDS’

The executive secretary also said a major message the EITI international mission communicated clearly to Nigeria was the urgency to reconstitute the NEITI NSWG which was dissolved on June 19, 2023.

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President Bola Tinubu had approved the reconstitution of a 15-member NSWG for NEITI on April 22.

Speaking at the news conference, Orji said to reaffirm Nigeria’s highest commitment, George Akume, the SGF, was announced as the chairman of the NSWG.

“I wish to clarify that it is a 15-member board, no more, no less as provided by law,” he said.

“As secretary to the board and NEITI executive secretary/CEO, I remain on a five-year single term, no more, no less as provided by law.

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“NEITI is following with interest but from a distance, the ongoing independent process by civil society organisations (CSOs) to elect their representative on the board.

“While we commend the painstaking efforts from the CSOs constituency, we hope this will be completed very soon to enable them take up their rightful position waiting for them on the reconstituted board.”

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Orji also called on the CSOs to close ranks and bury their differences, stressing that “NEITI is and always will be their institution ready and open to work with all CSOs as important partners in the EITI”.

The executive secretary commended the CSOs for the support NEITI had received from them in areas of partnership and collaboration.

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He said the initiative’s relationship with the media had been impressive, especially in information dissemination and public enlightenment efforts.

Orji reassured stakeholders, international partners, and the global EITI that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring that Nigeria scores the maximum points of 100 in its assessment at the next validation.

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In November 2023, the EITI said Nigeria may be suspended if it fails to meet requirements for validation commencing January 1, 2026.

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