…..CSOs urge FG to rise against damaging trends in Nigeria’s EITI affairs
By Chimezie Godfrey
The Publish What You Pay ( PWYP), Nigeria, and Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA) have urged the Nigeria Government to rise against damaging trends in the affairs of the Nigeria’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The CSOs in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, PWYP, Comrade Taiwo Otitolaye, and Adebayo Titus of the CODWA decried conflicting separate public statements by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
The statement expresses worry over the unwholesome development saying that if it is not tackled the country could become a laughing stock among the global community of EITI implementing countries.
The Statement reads in part:”Our attention has been drawn to separate public statements by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) where NEITI discredited and disowned its own 2021 oil and gas audit report.
“NNPCL issued a statement, saying NEITI has dismissed findings of its 2021 oil and gas audit report, particularly the finding on NNPCL indebtedness to the Federation. The statement by NNPCL followed a decision by a Non- governmental organization (NGO)
to sue President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the basis of NEITI’s audit disclosure, requesting the President to compel NNPCL to pay the debt it owes the Federation.
“Also, NUPRC issued a public statement, saying NEITI has dismissed the content of its 2021 oil and gas report which indicts the Commission for abusing its own regulation and process in the award of marginal oil fields 2020.
“This development is worrisome, an indication of discordant tune by NEITI on its own report which passed through all the stakeholders’ inputs and validation before it was published. It is on record that the DRAFT COPY OF THE NEITI 2021 OIL AND GAS REPORT which is now being mutilated and disowned by NEITI itself were sent to all the EITI Constituencies, all covered entities by the audit exercise, including NUPRC; NNPCL; Civil society community; and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives (EITI) which is the Global body and clearing house for all EITI IMPLEMENTING COUNTRIES
“The NUPRC and the NNPCL that are now raising dusts on the content of the report did not only signed-off on the report before it was published, but were present at the public presentation and launch of the report.
“Two of the issues where NEITI in discordant tune with its own 2021 Oil and Gas Report are in Chapter 2.7 (item 3) under observations and Findings:
“According to the Commission’s regulation, all successful applicants whose names are in the notice of Preferred Bidder Status ought to have made payment of signature bonus, prior to award, however, the list of awardees contained names of companies that had not made payment of signature bonus. Four companies whose names were not on the list of awardees also made payment of signature bonus for 2020/2021 marginal field award.”
It added,”The Report in item 2 under implications states that “Award of marginal fields prior to payment of signature bonus as well as payment of signature bonus by companies that did not participate in the process by NUPRC indicates that the Commission did not adhere to its own regulations.”
“The report went ahead to advise that “The NUPRC should adhere strictly to all its regulations.”
It further stated,”The statement credited to NEITI in the media report that the NUPRC took over the bidding process for the 57 Marginal Oil fields from the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is inconsequential
and incongruous considering the principle of continuity in government.
“These development raises some fundamental questions needing answers
“1. Does it mean that the NUPRC when constituted started on a fresh note without reviewing the activities of the defunct DPR including the 57 Marginal Oil fields?
“2. Are Nigerians being ask to believe that the defunct DPR did not leave any records behind on this issues?
“3. Does it means NEITI and its Consultant
did not conduct reconciliation and validation meetings with the NUPRC and NNPCL before publishing the report?
“4. Could it be that NEITI and the Consultant hired for the audit reports failed the test of competencies required for this important national assignments or that there are conspiracies and compromise somewhere ?
“As stakeholders in the Nigerian EITI process, we are worried and taken aback that this ugly development and incidents are now part of EITI implementation in our country.
“These development paints gory pictures for credibility of transparency and accountability roles the EITI PROCESS is supposed to play; and more importantly, ensuring that the nation’s natural resource is beneficial to the citizenry today, tomorrow and for all time.
“We hereby call on the Presidency, the National Assembly and other agencies with oversights functions to quickly rise to these damaging trends in the affairs of Nigeria’s EITI before the country becomes a laughing stock among the global community of EITI implementing countries.”