Publish What You Pay-Nigeria Strengthens CSO Engagement On EITI Standard

The Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria with support from Ford Foundation organized a two-day workshop on strengthening the civil society engagement on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) standards.

The workshop was centered on three core objectives, (1) to improve civil society participation in EITI processes, (2) to engage EITI process and devolve it to local communities, (3) to improve multistakeholder involvement in governance.

Participants for the workshop were drawn from the NEITI Civil Society Steering Committee members, media, academia, professional bodies, representatives of NEITI, International Development Partners (IDPs) and PWYP members across the federation.

The workshop underscored the importance of CSOs working on the EITI validation process in Nigeria, focusing on direct sub-national payments and transfers, data accessibility, CSO participation in contract transparency.

Mr. Emeka Ononamadu, the National Coordinator, PWYP-Nigeria, identified some of the challenges that have characterized the coalition since its formation, but affirmed, despite the challenges, the coalition has persisted and has live up to its goal.

Mr. Waziri Adio, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) assured PWYP-Nigeria and the participants at the workshop of NEITI support for PWYP to address the gaps that exist between the CSOs and NEITI.

Participants identified a high level of corruption in the oil and gas sector as the biggest challenge confronting the extractive sector and called on the Nigerian state to address it in order for citizens to enjoy the benefits of their natural resource exploration.

The CSOs weakness in the EITI process participation and means of addressing it dominated discourse at the event.

The capacity gap among CSO was identified as a major challenge; hence there is the prime need to build members’ skill in research, negotiation and documentation which is a perfect tool for evidence-based interventions and advocacies.

Beneficial Ownership featured prominently in the debate among participants. In doing that, there is the need to set up a committee to liaise and work with partners in the monitoring and engagement of the process to achieve the set objectives and framework as contained in Nigeria’s EITI Road Map and CSSC Action plan for 2017-2018.

We need to go beyond the legal ownership of companies and utilize technical information to ascertain the beneficial owners which will strengthen the demand for transparency and accountability in the use of extractive resources, the participants agreed.

The need for citizens’ awareness and mobilization for an open, accountable and transparent system was canvassed. Participants argued, this will ensure not only transparency and accountability but also ensure that corporate social accountability is enshrined in all the activities of International Oil Companies and local operators for the protection of the environment, economic benefits and social developments.

Having identified huge corruption as impediment to transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, participants called for stakeholders’ engagement with PWYP-Nigeria and other extractive industries to be strengthened, this they argue, will uphold Nigeria attained status at the 2016 EITI validation exercises, and this needs to be improved on to achieve satisfactory status in 2018.

Over the years, Nigerian state and citizens do not have a clear understanding of the quantity of crude produced, and, this has breed huge corruption in the oil and gas. To address this, participants appealed to the government to install meters on oil-well heads to determine the quantity of crude oil produced and also check corruption.

Publish what You Pay-Nigeria, Abuja Secretariat