Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji has attributed the ongoing reforms in Nigeria’s extractive sector to the strong collaboration between the civil society, government and companies under the EITI framework which Nigeria is a signatory.
He made this known in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria FRCN weekend.
According to him, “We have created a coalition between the civil society that represent the people, government that hold and manages the resources to improve the business environment and the companies that exploit and do business in the country so they can do good business and make good returns to government. These are the reasons why NEITI exists”
He added that “The current massive reforms going on in the oil, gas and mining sector unknown to the public, is as a result of the work that the coalition of the civil society, government and companies are doing. When we publish our reports, we get the legislators and citizens to discuss the findings and recommendations. The NEITI reports recommended for instance, the introduction of the petroleum industry bill”.
The Director General of the FRCN Dr. Mansur Liman, while welcoming his guest said that he has followed NEITI’s progress and trajectory and is impressed by the agency’s strides in upholding the tenets of transparency and accountability as laid down by the global EITI.
He commended NEITI for its efforts at guiding the government so far in its reforms of Nigeria’s extractive sector, adding that FRCN is proud to have one of its staffs as the chief executive officer of another government agency. “Every staff at the FRCN can attest to your discipline, hard work and dedication. The last programme which you initiated and anchored here titled “The Eagle square” is a programme that centred on public accountability. It is no surprise then that you are heading a transparency organization”, Dr. Liman stated.
According to the DG, “FRCN will give NEITI all the necessary support, seeing that the corporate values of the two agencies are similar. Please circulate your reports to the FRCN news platform for wider engagement and dissemination”.
“I have seen the areas you want us to concentrate; we will give you total support because we are doing this for our country. We will increase the coverage of NEITI activities, and we will look into the proposal to expand our energy desk”, he added.
Dr Orji had earlier commended the rebuilding and upgrade of the broadcast infrastructure on-going at the headquarters of the FRCN in Abuja. Dr. Orji described the expansion and digitization of the news and programme facilities and the establishment of several multi-purpose digital studios at the corporation as positive revolutions in broadcasting that should be emulated by other publicly owned media organisations in the country.
According to Dr. Orji “The upgrade of facilities at the corporation will not only boost the quality of the signals and programmes, but will make the FRCN competitive and boost its revenue drive as people will put their money where their hearts are”
He described his visit to the FRCN as emotional and historic. “FRCN shaped my career and provided the platform for my self-development in public service. I am a homeboy, bred and buttered here. I can proudly say today that it is FRCN that people still connect me to”. He added that “This Corporation, therefore, means a lot to me and that is why I am here to pay my respects. I thank the management and President Muhammadu Buhari for making this visit a historic homecoming for me”
Making reference to the motto of the FRCN which is “uplifting the people and uniting the nation”, Dr. Orji explained that he was at the FRCN because the corporate values of the corporation aligns with the mandate of NEITI. “We cannot engage in public enlightenment, education and debates on natural resource management which NEITI is spear-heading without the support and collaboration of the FRCN”, he emphasised.
He noted that the media is a major anti-corruption platform that stands for openness, transparency and accountability. “So we have an alignment with the FRCN. We want our country to use its resources efficiently and uplift the people and unite our country. Any agreement ignored in the oil and gas industry has implications on revenues losses” he added.
Dr. Orji advised the corporation to expand its energy desk to cover new and millennial issues in energy transition and promised that NEITI will provide all the technical and institutional support to make the expansion a success.
The transparency boss reminded his host that the whole essence of the EITI was to draw national and international attention to the dangers of the resource curse and how to help countries plagued by the scourge reverse the curse.
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