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NEITI meets EFCC, police, others over oil frauds

To further deepen the fight against fraudulent activities in the extractive industry, particularly in the oil and gas sector, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Tuesday held a meeting with officials from the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, Code of Conduct Bureau, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

At the meeting in Abuja, NEITI said it had become important for the agencies to pull their different knowledge and powers together in order to adequately reduce or halt the fraud perpetrated in Nigeria’s oil sector.

NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio, also stated that the meeting provided his agency with an opportunity to adequately train officials in the anti-corruption extractive industry fraud units of anti-corruption agencies and law enforcement agencies on why the organisations must collaborate for the progress of Nigeria’s extractive sector.

He said, “Our job in NEITI is to do the audit reports and we’ve done so many of them in the past 15 years. So we can conveniently say that the country knows more today than it did 15 years ago about what is going on in the sector in terms of revenue streams and things that are not being done properly, as well as things that are being corrected.

“So other government agencies like you can say, ‘Wait a minute, is there an issue for reform here? What do we need to reform? Is there an issue for investigation here? What do we need to investigate? Is there an issue for prosecution here? Why do we need to prosecute?’”

Adio added, “Therefore, where our work stops is where the work of others starts. But does that happen all the time? Not necessarily. We would love a situation where we can go beyond just the reports, stimulate and force the debates, implement the reforms, investigate, prosecute and convict people.

“Because it is not just about getting the government to get all the privileges that it should get, it is also about putting a price on bad behaviour, so that when people do what they shouldn’t have done, there is consequence management. They have to pay for it as a way to make sure that they are punished for what they have done and also as a way of ensuring that it serves as a deterrent to others.”

He said if Nigeria must use the resources in the extractive sector for the benefit of Nigerians and stop sharp practices in the industry, all the participating agencies at the meeting must work together.

“We need to pull the different knowledge and powers that we have together to make sure that we are able to do this across the value chain. Our (NEITI’s) work as important as it is, if it is not useful to you or if you don’t use it, then it is useless. So how do you take our output as an input for your own work? I say this because we don’t have the power to prosecute,” Adio said.

He added, “So we think that if we produce our work and you take it up from there, you can say what we can investigate from this, who we can prosecute from this and what we can recover because all the time we talk about monies that have not been paid and things that have not been done.”

Nigeria’s extractive sector, such as the oil and gas industry, still accounts for the bulk of the revenues to the government and the bulk of exports from the country.

Revenues from the extractive sector, especially oil and gas, accounts for at least 60 per cent of federally collected revenue for the country and 80 per cent of its exports.

“So this is a sector that should be of importance to all Nigerians because as at today it is the soul of our economy and society. It is a sector that all of us should be interested in,” Adio stated.

Officials of the agencies, who spoke one after the other at the meeting, promised to collaborate with NEITI in the fight against fraudulent activities in the sector.