Connect with us

NEITI Urges Govts of Oil Producing States to Establish Policies to Safeguard Oil Revenues



By Praise Chinecherem

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has called on governments of oil producing state to ensure institutionalization of policies and safeguards of their oil revenues for sustainability

Director, Communications and Stakeholders Advocacy, Mrs Obiageli Onuorah gave the advice in Awka, Anambra State at a one-day dialogue on Building Trust and Transparency: Strengthening Relationships Among Extractive Stakeholders, Government and Communities.

The dialogue was organized by International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC) and Spaces for Change (S4C) in partnership with Anambra State government.

She said, “My advice to Anambra State and other oil producing State governments is that it ensures institutionalization of policies and safeguards for sustainability of its revenues accruing from oil under its natural resources governance policy.

“As the 10th oil producing state in Nigeria, there is need to put in place a law that will ensure transparency and accountability as well as management of revenue accruing from the oil and gas sector in the state.

“Just like what Ghana did, if they get, say N100m, 10 percent of the revenue can be saved for the next generation and can only be withdrawn at specific times and applied to certain projects, like education, retirement benefits, among others.

“But when you’re saving, and you don’t have a law to safeguard those savings, all those savings can be squandered by the next government.

“That’s why NEITI emphasizes on safeguards for whatever policies of governments that can be sustainable till the next ten years.

“That’s also the reason we’ll remain grateful to former president Obasanjo for going the extra mile to enact the NEITI law guiding the governance of natural resources of the nation. Same with Buhari administration talking about Petroleum Industry Act being signed into law.”

Delivering her paper, a lecturer in Faculty of law, COOU Igbariam, Prof (Mrs) Charity Emelie underscored the place of proper
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before oil production would be carried out in the communities.

“Proper EIA which should be done before embarking on oil production in the communities will eliminate or reduce drastically most of the challenges the communities face.

“Most times, the EIA is rubber stamp to fulfill all righteousness. If it’s not done with the intent to solve the anticipated problem, it will end up creating more problems,” she added.

Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Barr. Anthony Ifeanya disclosed plans by Governor Chukwuma Soludo to make oil producing communities in the state models, through building of schools, roads, hospitals and other life improvement infrastructure.
Ifeanya who doubled as chairman of the occasion however noted that such laudable plans could only be achieved in an environment of peace and trust, just as he stressed the need for confidence building between Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company SEEPCO, the state and host communities.

Identifying hydrocarbon exploitation, bunkering, government insensitivity and other challenges facing host communities, Ifeanya recommended empowerment, sustainability, partnership and ownership as prerequisite for commercially viable and mutually beneficial operations.

Earlier, Executive Director, S4C, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri said her organization was deeply committed to fostering dialogue, collaboration and mutual respect among parties involved in the extractive industries.

She described the dialogue as crucial step towards bridging gaps and building stronger, more resilient relationships among stakeholders, government representatives, and host communities.

“S4C is a nonprofit organization dedicated to prioritizing human rights in decision-making processes.

“Our partnership with the International Peace and Civic Responsibility Center (IPCRC) for this event underscores our collective dedication to advancing transparency, equitable benefit sharing, and gender rights within the natural resource sector in Anambra State.

“By convening to discuss shared challenges and opportunities, we pave the way for more inclusive and sustainable development in Anambra State,” she said.

While commending participants for their dedication to the cause, Ibezim-Ohaeri expressed optimism that the dialogue would create a more just and equitable society where benefits of natural resources were shared fairly and stakeholders’ voices heard and respected.

President, IPCRC, Prince Chris Azor regretted that host communities of Ogwu-Aniocha, Ogwu-Ikpele and other mineral producing communities have continually presented existential challenges following oil and minerals exploration activities in the areas since Anambra was adopted as oil producing State.

“Some of the challenges include insecurity, neglect, environmental degradation, pollution, disease, marginalization, human rights violations and socio-economic hardships

“IPCRC and S4C in partnership with Anambra State Government seek to engage the observed issues and concerns with a view to get inputs from Stakeholders, and find ways of addressing same for peace, security, welfare, good governance and sustainable development,” he said.

Chairman, Anambra North Traditional Rulers Council, HRH Sir Joseph Ajodo sued for peace among warring oil communities in order to enjoy the natural gift God blessed them with.

He also urged government to wade into the crisis through the army, police and other security apparatus.

Head of Unit, Peace and Conflict Resolution Management, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), DCC Esokawu Charity pledged the Corps’ support to the protection of the facilities in the host communities.

“We have enough well trained personnel and battle ready to ensure all oil pipelines and other government infrastructure are protected,” she added.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *