…says Nigeria risks suspension if Board is not constituted
Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, has called on companies in the oil and mining industry to pay more attention to expanding their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes to the citizenry. Speaking at a two day capacity building workshop organised for journalists on NEITI/EITI process yesterday in Mararaba, Nassarawa State, he stressed the need for players in the industry to show commitment towards improved livelihood of the citizenry through provision of basic amenities.
He said: “NEITI is to build better business environment for companies to make profit, for government to benefit tremendously in terms of revenue take and for the civil society to ask informed questions that represent the conscience and virtue of the Nigerian citizens. “Except and until oil gas and mining industry brings good returns for the citizens in terms of access to road, water, education, security, jobs and improved standard of living, our job will be so from over.” Dr. Orji further warned companies in the extractive industry to ensure they are transparent and accountable in all operations, as the agency would not hesitate to expose any act of corruption.
“On the extractive industry, we are going to be vocal; we are going to be strong and we are going to be really independent. No government entity is big enough to swallow NEITI, but we are small enough to swallow bigger entities if they do not adhere to transparency, accountability and good governance.
“The oil industries, the companies are big balloons, NEITI is just a needle; our job is to punch the balloon for some information to come out. But so far, we have received a lot of cooperation from them,” he noted. Head, Communications and Advocacy, Mrs. Obiageli Onuorah, in a presentation on an overview of NEITI’s mandate and EITI’s standards, warned that Nigeria risked suspension from the EITI, if the NEITI Board, also known as National Stakeholders Working Group (NSGW), is not constituted as soon as possible.