NEITI, CSO Partner To Deepen EITI Implementation In Nigeria

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and a leading international Civil Society Organization, the Publish What You Pay Coalition have resolved to deepen collaboration towards effective implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Nigeria.

NEITI’s Deputy Director/Head, Communications and Advocacy, Mrs. Obiageli Onuorah who disclosed this in a statement on Friday, said, the duo also agreed to establish a new working relationship to be driven by constructive engagements, partnership and collaboration to improve governance in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

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She said, while receiving the high-ranking international delegation from the global headquarters of the organization at the NEITI House in Abuja, the Executive Secretary Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji conveyed the readiness of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) to work in closer collaboration and mutual respect with the organization at all levels.

“For the newly reconstituted NEITI Board”, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, remarked, “Your visit is timely and quite significant to NEITI especially coming after a similar mission by the EITI in Nigeria”.

He explained that for the Secretariat and the Board, the visit provides the platform to review the existing relationship between PWYP and NEITI, rebuild confidence and trust and identify new areas of collaboration.

Dr. Orji added:“Publish What You Pay is a key player in the global EITI, a major stakeholder and a civil society organization whose activities led to the EITI as a global initiative. PWYP and NEITI share a lot in common in the areas of advocacy for transparent natural resources governance, information and data disclosure, dissemination, citizens engagement, protection of civic space, human rights and civil liberties especially in the extractive industries environment.

Dr. Orji informed the delegation that the newly constituted National Stakeholders Working Group is already working on an elaborated working plan to strengthen civil society participation and engagements in NEITI process through deliberate support and capacity building and invited the PWYP to get involved to play a leading role under the guidance of the National Stakeholders Working Group.

Dr Orji reassured that with their visit and the frank discussions and ideas shared, “We will collaborate with you to deliver on your programs and activities in Nigeria”’.

He used the opportunity to congratulate the civil society constituency for an engaging, open and transparent election.

“Let me thank PWYP for putting forward a quality candidate and to the civil society for a credible choice of Dr. Erisa Danladi Sarki to sit as CSO representative on the NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NEITI Board)”, he said.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Director of Member Engagement at Publish What You Pay International Ms Stephanie Rochford expressed her enthusiasm over the partnership with NEITI.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji receiving the delegation of Publish What You Pay International at NEITI House, Abuja.

She remarked: “We appreciate all your efforts in supporting and engaging Civil Society. We have reached a positive juncture, and PWYP is committed to advancing this collaboration.”

Ms. Rochford appealed for NEITI’s support to the ongoing campaign of the PWYP on contract disclosure and urged NEITI to join the campaign for gender equity in the sharing and allocation of opportunities in the extractive sector.

The Senior Regional Coordinator, PWYP Anglophone Africa, Mr. Vincent Egoro commended NEITI for extending an open door for PWYP to engage with the agency. He pledged PWYP support in ensuring that the engagement strengths of civil society organisations in other countries is replicated in Nigeria.

PWYP is available and will support civil society organisations, guide them on how to engage on the validation exercise”. Mr. Egoro pledged.

The International Coordinator for PWYP, Mr. Monday Osasa who is also the Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Center LSD) commended NEITI’s efforts on the recovery of revenues to government through provision of data and information on where these resources are.

He advised NEITI to convey meetings for the leadership of coalitions in preparation for validation whenever the call for the assessment is made.

The delegation included Dr. Erisa Danladi Sarki, the elected representative of civil society organizations on the NEITI Board.

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