The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has expressed commitment to partner with students in Social Science, Economics and Commercials on extractive industries governance.
This commitment was made through the NEITI’s Team lead Outreach Mr. Chris Ochonu, at the inception meeting between NEITI and Executives of the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC), held recently at University of Abuja, Gwagwalada Campus.
Mr. Ochonu who represented NEITI at the meeting, explained that “as part of its outreach programmes, NEITI will work with organized and credible student groups to deepen the knowledge and culture of transparency and accountability in the management of extractive resources among the younger generation.”
He informed the students that this will be done through NEITI’s students outreach programme. The programme is aimed at building the capacity of students to understand the principles of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Nigerian Universities.
He noted that it is important for students to understand operations in the extractive industries as well as the principles of EITI to enable them demand for transparency, accountability on the application of revenues accruing from the sector.
Mr. Ochonu stressed that a major challenge in the implementation of EITI process in Nigeria is poor public awareness about the laudable global Initiative. According to him, many Nigerians are yet to understand the functions of NEITI, its objectives, methods, principles, processes and procedures.
He stressed that NEITI’s concerns remain that unless and except Nigerians especially the youths understand what its objectives, the benefits, policy goals are, it would be quite difficult to achieve the desired buy-in and support.
This is why strategic engagement with students’ population and outreach to schools have become critical in the implementation of EITI in Nigeria. This is in view of the fact that students represent important segment of the population that could serve as change agents in extractive sector governance.
Responding, the Vice President of AIESEC, Ms. Sekinat Lawal thanked NEITI’s team and welcomed the decision to design a student’s outreach programme. The programme will help to educate students on the operations and governance issues in the extractive sector. She assured the team of her group’s readiness to work with NEITI on this important sector of Nigeria’s economy.
International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC) is a global platform for students in tertiary institutions aimed at exploring and developing leadership potentials. The association exists in virtually all the universities in Nigeria.