Nigeria risks suspension from EITI Club over Oil & Gas audit Report

Oil and Gas Audit

Nigeria may be suspended from Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, club for failing to meet the deadline on publication of the new 2013 oil and gas, solid minerals audit reports on or before December 31, 2015, the visiting EITI’s Deputy Head, and Regional Director for Africa and Middle East, Eddie Rich, has said. Publication of the two reports, which the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, claims had been ready even before the December 31, 2015, has been stalled due to absence of the National Stakeholders Working Group, NSWG, board, which is yet to be reconstituted by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The laws require that the reports be duly approved by the NSWG board before such reports are published, but government was yet to constitute another board months after dissolution of the old board, forcing NEITI to seek extension of the publication deadline to enable it complete the processes involved. But, speaking during a visit at the NEITI Secretariat yesterday, Rich said even though Nigeria has communicated her peculiar situation with regard to delay in the publication of the reports through a letter to the EITI secretariat, there is a significant possibility for her suspension from the EITI club. Rich, visited NEITI in company of the incoming Chairman of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, Fredrik Reinfeldt, who arrived Nigeria on Monday February 8th 2016 on a two days working visit. According to him, from international stand point, Nigeria has violated the EITI standards regardless of its peculiar situation of regime change and internal politics. Rich said when if Nigeria eventually gets suspended from the EITI, it remains suspended unless it is able to publish the report within six months, and in the event that it fails to produce for the next year it will be delisted from the EITI club.

He explained that if the country could produce the report within the six months of suspension the suspension would be automatically lifted. However, NEITI Acting Executive Director, Orji Ogbonaya Orji, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria would not get to the stage of suspension. Orji maintained that the two reports in question are not only ready, but have been reviewed by the EITI secretariat awaiting the approval of the incoming NSWG board to be published. Orji said NEITI has also simplified the reports to make it easier for the board to read and understand to facilitate easy approval. Under a programme of activities released for the visit of the EITI delegation by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, the outgoing and in-coming Chairman, Clare Short and Fredrik Reinfeldt, are expected to meet with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo at the State House, Presidential Villa, Abuja. The two EITI leaders will equally hold consultations with the leadership of the National Assembly, some ministers and top government officials. Meetings with the media, civil society as well as development partners will also take place.