OGP, Fundamental For Transparency In Extractive Sector: Abubakar Malami, (SAN)

Abubakar Malami, (SAN), Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General has identified Open Government Partnership, (OGP) as fundamental for transparency in extractive Sector. In this interview with Mr. Emeka Ononamadu, National Coordinator PWYP-Nigeria and Mr. Audu Liberty Oseni, editor Extracting Accountability, at the National Steering Committee and donors meeting for OGP, he speaks on the government commitment to OGP. Extract:

Q: Is the Nigerian government committed to Open Government Partnership (OGP)? 

R: The Nigerian government in May 2016 at the anti-corruption summit in London has given commitment and full support to the Open Government Partnership (OPG). And what we are trying to do in the OGP is to carry along the CSOs, MDAs, and the citizens on the importance of transparency, accountability and openness in government. Improve the system for the purpose of establishing that the government is open for all to see and carry everyone along in the performance and execution of government projects, budget and associated projects,

Q: Under the OGP, does the government have any strategy on the management of asset recovery under its anti corruption measures?

R: On the management of the assets recovery, the federal government has sent Proceeds of Crime Bill before the National Assembly to be passed into law. In the bill, there is a comprehensive structure of an agency that is expected to confiscate and manage all assets recovered by the government through money laundering and all other financial infractions. What we have as a package is a legislation that is pending before the National Assembly, with the hope that at the end of the day, when it is passed, the agency will be put in place that will professionally manage the recovered assets through the process of assets recovering.

Q: Will the law that seeks to establish the agency come into existence before the end of this administration? 

R: When a bill is before the National Assembly, the executive is not in control of the process, but we are working together to see how the bill will be passed expeditiously.

Q: What anti-corruption focus do you have for the extractive sector?

R: The government anti-corruption focus is all-encompassing and comprehensive. It is not based on sector, but, we are doing comprehensive enough to go into the extractive sector, not necessarily as an independent unit, but using the context and skill of the OGP strategy that is put in place for the anti –corruption process to get the extractive sector to respond to the demand of openness.

Q: There is an expectation that OGP will lead to transparency in oil and gas sector, do you think some key players in the sector will kick against it?

R: Whether any key player kicks against it or not, does matter, what matters most is that the government is determined to be open and will definitely pursue the process of being open and accountable in governance.