NEITI MEETS THE MEDIA: UNFOLDS NEW PROGRAMMES

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has identified conclusion of 2006-
2008 Audit Report, wide dissemination of its findings and commencement of solid minerals Audit as some of its priorities. Other immediate priorities include commissioning of 2009-2010 oil and gas Audit, revenue disbursement and value for money Audit, and automation of NEITI Audit Report, to make it regular and ICT based.


The Executive Secretary of NEITI Mrs. Zainab Ahmed outlined these priorities at a world press conference in Abuja on Monday 21st March, 2011, to formerly announce NEITI’s compliant status in EITI. Mrs. Zainab explained that NEITI is working to bring the legislature fully into its work. According to her, “We also have the challenge of bringing the legislature fully into the work of NEITI. These include the National and State Assemblies and Local Government Council councilors. We need them to take interest in NEITI audit reports and find enough reasons and interest to discuss the reports at plenary sessions and cause the recommendations to be implemented”.
The Executive Secretary explained that working with the legislature will strengthen NEITI’s work and improve extractive revenue transparency and good governance. She underlined the importance of effective communications in the NEITI process, “NEITI’s 2011 work plan has been designed with great emphasis on public education and enlightenment, capacity building for civil society and the media, to strengthen their capacity to understand and interpret NEITI audit reports for purposes of educating the Nigerian public”.
The chairman of NEITI Prof. Assisi Asobie, who led NEITI delegation to the just concluded 5th EITI global conference in Paris identified the benefits of becoming an EITI compliant country to include better international image, revenue transparency and good governance, improved credit rating and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and better opportunity for the citizens to access information and participate in the governance of natural resources in their country. Prof. Asobie called on the media to work with NEITI to ensure that Nigerians benefit from the compliant status of NEITI in the global EITI. The NEITI chairman asserted that “Nigeria’s journey to EITI’s compliance status provides a lot of lessons to us in NEITI and for all other Nigerians. First, is the key lesson of leadership, every major achievement is the product of team work”.
The press conference was an opportunity for NEITI to unveil its new publications. These include NEITI Handbook, Open Audit (NEITI Journal), NEITI Audit Report 2005 Simplified, NEITI NSWG Board Charter and a documentary The NEITI Story. The conference also provided an open forum for questions and answers on NEITI mandate, legislation, Audit Report and remediation issues.
The conference was attended by other members of NSWG like Mallam Mahmud Jega, chairman NEITI’s communications committee and Alhaji Jafaru Paki, chairman NEITI’s technical committee.