The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Godfrey Onyeama on the need to incorporate the implementation of natural resource governance into Nigeria’s foreign policy.
Speaking during the meeting in Abuja, Orji said that it was important that both NEITI and the ministry work together to ensure that Nigeria’s envoys around the world are fully informed and briefed about NEITI’s leading role at the global body.
“At the moment, NEITI is concerned that huge information gaps exist between its leading role in natural resource governance under the EITI framework and Nigerian foreign missions.
“Nigeria is chair of the global network on contract transparency comprising of 20 countries among them Mexico, Philippines and Ghana. We were selected as one of the pilot countries on beneficial ownership, contract transparency, open data as well as on energy transition and open extractives”, he explained.
Orji pointed out that sensitising diplomatic missions will help Nigeria to uphold and maintain its leading roles on global issues, explaining that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent commitment at the London anti-corruption summit has diplomatic dimensions to the implementation of the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
“We therefore request for a special desk at the ministry of foreign affairs for closer briefings and engagements on these issues. We expect our foreign missions to be abreast of EITI so they can provide the needed support at the international level and brief the ministry appropriately on developments, ”Orji stated.
Responding, Onyeama welcomed the new partnership, emphasising that NEITI remains avery important partner in show-casing Nigeria’s global leadership on natural resource governance.
“Mr. President, as the African Union Anti- corruption champion has pushed for African governments to be aware of the dangers of illicit financial flows and its drain on Africa’s resources.
“NEITI, therefore has very important mandates and roles to play in building the environment and the framework for transparency in beneficial ownerships of natural resources and also in the collection of revenue and taxes from the sector.
“NEITI and the ministry will support each other. Nigeria has been involved and has invested a lot in the global efforts to monitor and prevent illicit financial flows. If we can capture much of these resources, it will accelerate the development of Nigeria and Africa, ”he noted’